Council chiefs and politicians have held their hands up after a damning verdict on Kirklees children’s services.

But they have been unwilling to say who was to blame.

Kirklees Council has been given the lowest possible rating for the quality of the department which looks after vulnerable youngsters – many of which are in care.

Council leader Clr David Sheard said: “We know the scale of the challenge and we are doing everything possible to make a real and positive difference to young people’s lives. We all want the best for local children.”

Clr Erin Hill, now the Cabinet member in charge of children’s services, said she did not want to start looking for someone to blame.

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She said: “My priority is where we’re going, not where we’ve been. What we have to focus on is the experience of children. We’re not going to make them any safer by having a blame culture.

“We’ve looked at what’s gone wrong and we’ll try and learn the lessons from that.”

The Examiner rang her predecessor, Clr Jean Calvert, but she was not available for comment.

Clr Jean Calvert

But the leader of the Conservative group, Clr David Hall, said he would seek answers.

He said: “To my mind this is beyond party politics. When you think what’s involved, these are children’s lives.

“There’s an all party group formed to try and steer us through this bad patch and we will continue to support that.

“We will still be asking hard questions about what’s been happening but we will play a responsible part in giving assistance so that things get turned around.”