PLANS to transform a 'broken' special needs service accused of making families feel "overlooked and ignored" were revealed during a meeting this week.

Last month, a report made strong criticisms of SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) support services in Wirral, with leaders accused of failing to meet promises.

The document, prepared after an inspection by both Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors, revealed huge problems which were pushing families to the limit emotionally, financially and physically.

In a joint response at the time, Conservative councillor Wendy Clements, chair of Wirral Council's children, young people and education committee, and Simon Banks, chief officer of NHS Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said the report showed that "while considerable progress has been made in helping vulnerable young people, there is still a substantial way to go to support all children".

While Liberal Democrat councillor Chris Carubia, who has been a vocal campaigner on this issue, said the report showed "a litany of failure".

It is important to note there were positive comments in the document, with one section reading: "Despite a poor experience for many children and young people and their families in Wirral, services for the most vulnerable children and young people are routinely timely and of high quality."

Plans to improve SEND services were debated at Monday night's meeting of Wirral Council’s children, young people and education committee.

James Backhouse, Wirral's assistant director of education, said progress was needed in a number of areas.

Mr Backhouse said education, health and care (EHC) plans for young people needed to be more "outcome focused" and respect the voices of children.

Among other changes, he added better communication was needed and that several face-to-face and virtual meetings had taken place with parents since the Ofsted report was published.

The council officer added waiting times for young people in the system needed to be reduced, and that partners must work quickly to drive the change needed.

Cllr Carubia said there were parents who had been in the system for a long time and new parents in the system, he wanted to make sure that one group did not get preference over the other.

Mr Backhouse said he could give the Lib Dem member that reassurance, but that there needed to be a "change of culture" within Wirral's SEND service which needs to be reflected in "everything we do".

Cllr Cherry Povall, a Conservative, said the service had been criticised for being behind on EHC plans and wanted to know what was being done to make sure the authority caught up.

Mr Backhouse said local SEND services were catching up and that there was a need to drive up the speed at which plans are done while maintaining the quality of them.