A statement from Cumbria County Council has defended the allegations made against them regarding child protections services in the county:
“Until recently, Professor Ashton was Cumbria’s highest paid public servant and his views and opinions are always treated with respect.
“In this instance we do not recognise many of his comments, other than to highlight again that a wide-ranging independent inspection of children’s services last year judged that children in Cumbria are safe.
“The same inspection found that the pace of change to council and local NHS services did need to improve and recent feedback from inspectors has shown that Cumbria is on-track to bring about the necessary changes.
"The council’s partners, including the NHS, have stressed that they are positive about the progress that has been made.
"Department for Education officials in their recent assessment also talk positively about Senior Leadership in Children’s Services and the political cross party support and commitment which is giving priority to improving children’s services, and the expectation that progress will continue at pace.
“The safety, success and wellbeing of children in Cumbria is the responsibility of all of us and the council continues to demonstrate in word and deed its open, transparent and positive approach to securing these outcomes for all our children and young people.
“There is no complacency and people can be assured that supporting children and young people in Cumbria to grow into happy and fulfilled adulthood remains our highest priority.”