ESTHER McVey has accused Cheshire East Council of 'failing its children' following the publication of a damning Ofsted report.

The watchdog carried out an inspection of the council's children's services earlier this year before publishing its findings on May 16.

But, while noting there had been some improvements since the last inspection in 2019, inspectors rated children's services in Cheshire East as 'inadequate' overall.

It was found the quality of practice, as well as the experience and progress of children and young people, is too variable, and for care leavers it is inadequate.

Now, the MP for Tatton has criticised the council for 'letting down' some of the most vulnerable young people in its area and called for those responsible to be held accountable.

Ms McVey said: "It is clear our young people have not been given the support they need or deserve but instead have suffered due to incompetence, lack of management and scrutiny.

"Every child and young person deserves the best start in life but instead they have been let down by the very people and organisation that should have been supporting them.

"I was extremely shocked by the levels of failings found in the report and want answers as to how this was allowed to happen.

"Failings like this do not happen overnight – people must have known. Why was it allowed to continue?

“In 2018 the council was Conservative run and it received praise from Mark Riddell, the government’s national implementation adviser for care leavers, for its exemplary work in relation to those leaving the care system.

"Now five years after Labour took control of the council, we have this awful situation whereby our young people are being failed."

While rating children's services overall as inadequate, the report highlighted the 'strong' political and corporate commitment to children in the borough as well as a strategic focus on improvement.

Also mentioned were the development and opening of family hubs, which have strengthened the early help offer, reducing harm for children and young people.

Councillor Carol Bulman, lead member for children and families at the council said: "We are, of course, deeply disappointed with the outcome of this latest inspection and are sorry that some aspects of our support for young people does not meet the expected standard.

"However, we accept the findings and are committed to addressing all the inspectors’ recommendations. 

"I’d like to thank all the staff who support children, young people and their families, day in day out, with dedication, commitment and care.

"I am proud of how they have responded to the judgement and have committed to deliver the improvements set out in the report.

"Work is already under way to improve the experiences of our children and young people, learning from this inspection and building on the progress we have made over the last few years.

" I know this inspection will be a positive catalyst for change and we need to use it as an opportunity to reflect, learn and keep moving forwards.

“Our focus continues to be on achieving excellent outcomes for children and young people through establishing consistently good practice.” 

Ms McVey added the lead member for children’s services had 'serious questions to answer' and those at the top of the organisation also 'must come clean over what they knew'.

She has also written to Cheshire East Council following the report and to ministerial colleagues setting out her concerns regarding the council’s ability to run children’s services.