Andrew Webb had the legal duty to sort out Mr Parnell’s problems. How the hell he keeps his job at Stockport Council never mind advising ministers, goodness only knows.

“Andrew Webb, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, which helped to devise the new measures, said: “The reforms announced today will help local authorities to continue to drive up the number of suitable adopters approved and will give every child who needs a new permanent family, for whatever reason, the very best chance of being matched with one.

“If a picture really is worth a thousand words, then allowing potential adopters to gain controlled access to more information must be seen as a step forward for children.”

He added: “The Association of Directors of Children’s Services has some reservations about data security and that these changes are unlikely to help all children move on. However, this is only one small change in a system that is in the middle of a major overhaul and it has our support.””