Cornwall Council has said it “accepts in full” the findings of an Ofsted report that describes children’s services in the county as “inadequate.”

The widespread failings were revealed this morning when the report’s findings were made public.

Inspectors made an unannounced visit to the county in July and were so concerned by what they saw that the more detailed report was ordered.

It says that children and young people in care are not being properly safeguarded, with the department's leadership singled out for criticism.

A range of failures were identified, including care planning, risk assessment, reviews, recording, planning and visits by social workers. It also says there is a significant lack of initial emergency placements.

Out of 117,000 children living in Cornwall, 469 of them were being looked after by the children’s services department at the time of the inspection.

At a press conference this morning at County Hall, Kevin Lavery, chief executive of the council, said: “We accept in full the Ofsted report. We have already taken swift, decisive action to deal with the issues. Our focus now is on the future and fixing the issues as quickly as possible.”

He went on to say that all the agencies involved in protecting children and youngsters – including the council, the NHS, the police and the independent board tasked with safeguarding children – were “obviously very disappointed” about the problems highlighted.

“I don’t want to see children at risk in the county. We need do something very quickly and we have,” he added.

A joint statement from the agencies said: “We recognise that many parents and carers in Cornwall will be worried by the findings of this report and would like to reassure them that plans are already being drawn up to improve these services.”

The report makes 17 recommendations, some to be implemented immediately, others over the next few months.

A free phone number has been set up for members of the public who have previously raised concerns about children with the council and who feel they did not receive an appropriate response, which is 0800 0152 904.

Children's Minister Dawn Primarolo has been quoted as saying that the government was “working urgently” with Cornwall to address the concerns found in the report.

For a detailed report on the problems and what the steps that are now being taken to improve can be found in next week’s Packet.