COUNCIL chiefs have admitted it could be five years before Worcestershire’s failing children's services gets a 'good' grading.
The admission has been made by Tina Russell, a new troubleshooting assistant director hired to try and sort child protection out.
As first revealed in January, Ofsted inspectors have graded the service 'inadequate' in a scathing verdict.
Bosses at Worcestershire County Council are working furiously to try and turn it around, and say the service is "the number one priority".
But Ms Russell says other councils around the country have typically needed five years to make the significant improvements required to become 'good'.
Less than 25 per cent of councils graded in the last two years for their children's services were rated 'good' - just 17 out of 74.
Ofsted's tougher new inspection framework has left almost two thirds of those investigated since 2014 'requiring improvement', the next step up from those deemed to be failing.
"The best evidence nationally is that it's a three to five-year improvement timescale," she said.
"We'd like to do it as soon as possible because that's what the children of Worcestershire deserve, but it is not a quick-fix - these things take time."
Her remarks were made during a scrutiny panel meeting after questioning from Councillor Paul Denham, Labour's spokesman for children and families.
Ms Russell added: "We have no intention of waiting two, three, four or five years before families feel an improved impact on service quality though - that's happening now.
"Every day we're thinking about how can we make the right decisions for children and how we can help their lives."
Elsewhere in the country Nottinghamshire County Council needed six years before its failing children's services was rated as good, while Leeds City Council took just over five.
Ofsted found evidence of "widespread and serious failures" in Worcestershire during a detailed investigation which took place back in October and November.
The inspectors said "corporate failure" had left children "at continued risk of significant harm" in a brutal verdict.
Ofsted was also critical of the role all councillors have played, with the Conservative leadership responding by pumping an extra £3.5 million into the 2017/18 children's services budget, on top of the existing £77 million.
A new 'eight-point plan' has also been put together under the guidance of Ofsted.