A SENIOR figure from Blackburn with Darwen Council warned the children's services department's next Ofsted inspection may not paint a positive picture.

Inspectors deemed the department good following an inspection last year but the council's head of policy, planning and performance, Robert Arrowsmith, told members of the council's corporate parenting specialist advisory group he felt the wind was changing.

Mr Arrowsmith said: "When they come in for the next inspection in 12 to 18 months, there is a bit of a storm brewing.

"I get the sense there's a danger of a perception shift. Ofsted are only interested in children's services and they don't look at the wider issue.

"There's a danger they will come in at some point and deem it better to give the council a kick in the shins rather than take the view that we are punching above our weight.

"Because of the pressure on budgets, we are being forced to choose between services which we feel are essential but we prioritise safeguarding over everything else.

"As things shrink, we have got to focus on our core responsibilities."

Labour member for Roe Lee, Cllr Ron Whittle, said: "The main priority has to be the protection of children.

"Most of the time that will be Ofsted's priority too but there will be times when we have to make a judgement what's best for the children.

"Some schools, for example, are more worried about what Ofsted say than what is good for the children.

"I would never want us to go down that route."

But Mr Arrowsmith said safeguarding children would always be a priority for the department.

The children's services department was inspected by Ofsted last year and found to be good on the whole.

Despite that, some concerns were identified and the council was required to put a plan together to improve the situation.

Inspectors found the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection from the council required improvement.

The local authority submitted an action plan to Ofsted after the visit last year found some shortcomings.

Inspectors found performance was good overall but the experiences and progress of children who need help and protection from the council required improvement.

A total of nine recommendations on how to improve the service were put forward by Ofsted following the inspection and the council laid out how it will address them.