“Significant concerns” have been raised about the effectiveness in Cumbria to meet the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

A joint inspection report published today by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission has identified significant weaknesses and as a result a Written Statement of Action is required.

Cumbria County Council and the local area’s clinical commissioning groups are now jointly responsible for submitting the written statement to Ofsted by August 21.

The report states that the impact of special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) reforms in Cumbria is “highly variable” and that the local area has been too slow to implement the reforms which are set out in the Children and Families Act 2014.

It states: “Overall, there is a lack of joint working between health, care and education.

“Leaders across the partnership have not collaborated to plan, commission and deliver services for children and young people with SEND.”

The report highlights how many parents and caters have lost faith and trust in the local area.

“They feel as though they must battle to gain access to the services that their children require,” it states.

“Many parents and carers feel immense frustration. Some report how weaknesses across the local area have taken their toll on their own well-being and that of other family members.”

Cumbria County Council, North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group and Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group say they are committed to working with parents, carers and families to make improvements.

They also accepted more needed to be done to address the variable access to services across the county.

In a joint statement they said: “Improving services for children and young people with SEND is a priority for all of us.

“Services should be consistently good across the whole county.

“We welcome the report findings. They reflect our own self-evaluation and confirm that while there is much work to do, we are moving in the right direction.

“We are pleased that inspectors found many examples of where services are working well, and that the quality and dedication of staff working with children and families was recognised.”

Councillor Sue Sanderson, who is responsible for schools and learning at Cumbria County Council, added: “We are aware that parts of our services were not good enough for children and young people and it is a priority for us to see services improve.

“This is a complex and challenging area of work which is under severe pressure as a result of increasing demand on services and the increasing complexity of children’s needs.

“Put simply the funding we, and schools, receive from government has not kept pace with this increase in demand and this has an impact on children and young people.

“The report is helpful as it provides further evidence that we are moving in the right direction and we will continue to improve or services despite the pressures and restrictions we are dealing with.”