UNCERTAINTY is hanging over a series of recommendations designed to improve children’s lives following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Darlington Borough Council’s Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee is set to hold an extraordinary meeting next week after an apparent political impasse emerged between what actions councillors wanted to see following an inquiry into the impact of Coronavirus on the young.

The inquiry’s recommendations included that young people felt unfairly blamed for breaking Covid rules and jeopardising the health of older people and so civic enforcement should be monitored to address concerns and highlight misperceptions, improving understanding between generations.

Other recommendations included increasing and promoting the number of positive activities available for children in their local communities or in the town centre and that more education and awareness is needed within schools covering a range of topics affecting mental health and wellbeing, examining things that have benefitted young people from the pandemic.

The recommendations also stated due to the increase in the number of young people experiencing mental health difficulties from increases in eating disorders to anxiety, sleep issues and depression closer collaboration was needed between mental health providers, charities, schools, colleges and NHS commissioners.

The inquiry’s findings have also led to a recommendation to the council to commit to listening to and taking account of the voice of children and young people as part of its strategic, post-Covid approach across all department and commit to achieving better understanding and tolerance between all age groups in Darlington.

However, a meeting of the committee heard contradictory claims over whether its members had been afforded the opportunity to comment on the findings of the inquiry – the final report on which had been delegated to Labour councillor Cyndi Hughes and Green councillor Matthew Snedker.

Councillor Paul Cruddas – and other Conservative members – said they wanted to achieve complete consensus over the recommendations.

But recommendations needed changes before they were progressed as they went outside the inquiry’s remit and above the council’s powers.

Councillor Pauline Culley said: “We have to be careful of trying to cure the world with the report. We can only do things for Darlington.”

After the meeting, the committee’s chair, Cllr Hughes said she was hopeful councillors would be able to agree something everyone could be proud of.

She said: “Listening to what children and young people have told us about their experiences during the pandemic and giving voice to their recommendations so things can change for the better going forward is our shared goal.”