The announcement by the department for Housing, Communities and Local Government that Swindon was one of 15 councils to be awarded a share of £84m extra funding, and would be an early adopter of the 'family safeguarding model' of social work has been taken by Coun Martin as a vote of confidence.

She said: “I don’t think the government would be willing for us to take this on, and would be making more money available if it didn’t know that we had a very good framework in place in children’s services that would be able to make best use of the money and a success of the new practices."

READ MORE: Better outcomes for children show turnaround in Swindon council services

First developed by Hertfordshire County Council, safeguarding families uses teams with adult social workers included when working with families in crisis where children are thought to be at risk.

The adult social workers are skilled at dealing with issues such as addiction or mental health problems

The practice has been shown in its use at Hertfordshire to cut the number of times its necessary to take children away from their parents.

Coun Martin said: "Obviously the absolute first priority is to keep children safe.

"But if its possible to do that and keep families together, then of course that will also be a priority.

"No parent wants to have their children taken away, and if we can make sure children are safe, but keep them with their families, that's better for everyone."