CHILDREN’S services in Reading are moving in the right direction despite worrying finances, according to the lead member for Children at Reading Borough Council (RBC).

Councillor Liz Terry said she is close to revolt over the government’s cuts to local funding and the increasingly challenging legal requirement to deliver a balanced budget.

RBC’s children’s services department was placed into special measures in 2016 after Ofsted found a string of failures.

Cllr Terry said: “It is a really difficult time in children’s services. We have to really think about how we have got to this situation and challenge the things that Ofsted picked up.

“We have to stop the pipeline of kids coming into care. If families get the right support early on we don’t need the rest.

“Given the set of circumstances I think things are moving in the right direction.

The latest Ofsted report on RBC children’s services found that young people leaving care are receiving better services than they did two years ago.

Children’s charity Brighter Futures for Children will take over the service as an independent council-owned company in late autumn.

Cllr Terry said “I have a lot of confidence in the company. We have jointly invested in making it work. Hopefully it will prove to the government that we know how to run children’s services.

She said children’s services take up around 70 per cent of resources.

Cllr Terry added: “It should be about creating a failsafe for people that are vulnerable; that we challenge bad parenting and violent behaviour.”

Government funding has been cut by £58m since 2010 and RBC is legally required to deliver a balanced budget.

Cllr Terry said: “It is worrying that the council’s finances are in such a bad place.

“It feels like we are getting to the end of the line of how creative we can be.”

“The government has tightened and tightened the screw. I am getting to the point where I want to revolt.

“We have done the difficult savings where we can; we went for the maximum council tax increase.

“I would like to invite people to step in my shoes for the day and see the difficult decisions I have to make.

“It is coming close to where – I am an optimistic person – but I am getting gloomy about it. Right now, nothing bad happening would be really good.”

Despite the difficult circumstances, Cllr Terry believes there is potential for progress through technology.

She said: “We can always improve on things. For example, children with disabilities; technology might help them live more independently than they could forty years ago.”