A FULL review of all cases currently being handled by Herefordshire's children's services will take place after a damning judgement found serious failures in the department.

An extraordinary meeting of Herefordshire Council heard on April 27 that the Department for Education had commissioned Essex children's services to undertake an immediate 'helicopter' review of looked after care cases to identify issues earlier this month after a judge found a string of failures in the county's children's social care services.

Essex reviewed 19 cases selected independently from a full case list and reported that there were no red flags in them.

But councillor Jonathan Lester said more needed to be done to ensure the failures were not repeated.

"This is not comprehensive enough," he said.

"We need a wholesale review. Everything needs to be be reviewed, leaving no stone unturned."

His words were echoed by incoming chief executive officer Paul Walker, who agreed that no stone should be left unturned in a full review.

Newly appointed interim director of children's services Cath Knowles confirmed the department would be undertaking a full review of all 321 current cases, but warned it would not be a quick task.

"I agree that we need to undertake a full review," she told the full council meeting.

"This is a long term piece of work that will take three to five years, but we will look at all cases in the system."