The results of an investigation into whether failings at Thurrock’s Children’s Services contributed the death of a child will be released as soon as possible, the council leader has said.

The investigation began after whistleblowers claimed a string of management failings had played a part in the death of a 23-month old toddler in January.

At a full council meeting on October 31, the leader of the council gave an update on the investigation saying the findings would be released “as soon as we can”.

Council leader Rob Gledhill said: “I can’t speak about specific cases but I can confirm that allegations have been made under the whistleblowing policy and procedure. This matter is being independently investigated by a specialist barrister who has expertise in children’s social care.

“This is still ongoing and as soon as we can, we will release the findings. All whistleblowing allegations are robustly investigated, if necessary with independent experts as we’ve seen here. Discussions with the independent safeguarding barrister started on September 5 after receiving the allegations on the 4th following a letter dated in August.

“In addition Ofsted, the government’s agency responsible for child protection, have been kept informed at every stage of the investigation.”

At the beginning of October Labour Councillor John Kent quit from his role as chairman of the council’s children’s services scrutiny committee over the handling of investigations, accusing the council of a “whitewash”.

He said in a resignation speech that he had received two whistleblower letters but had not received any information requested from officers about an investigation.

It was agreed at Wednesday’s meeting that Labour Councillor Bukky Okunade would take over as the chair of the committee.

In a later discussion about the performance of Children’s Services the councillor in charge of children’s social care, Councillor Sue Little, told the council she is confident that children are safe.

She went on to highlight several improvements that have been made since an Ofsted inspection in 2016, which called for improvements in all areas of the service. Among the achievements, was a reduction in the number of children on a child protection plan from 293 to 200 and the number of children in care from 353 to 309.