A Government-appointed commissioner is being sent in to improve Birmingham City Council's troubled children's services department.

Lord Norman Warner is to become the first commissioner for children's social care at the local authority, the children and families minister Edward Timpson confirmed in a letter to the local authority.

The appointment is one of several recommendations contained in the findings of an independent review by Professor Julian Le Grand into the council-run service, the results of which have been published by the Department for Education (DfE).

Following the publication, Mr Timpson told the council he continued to be "very concerned about the safety of children in Birmingham" and said it was "of the utmost importance that we act quickly and decisively to ensure we do the absolute best for Birmingham's children" over both the short and longer-term.

Mr Timpson, in a letter to the council's leader Sir Albert Bore, said he was also acting on a broader recommendation put forward in the Le Grand report in commissioning a new report "to look at developing capacity for delivering children's services outside of local authorities".

The council's children's service department has been rated as inadequate by Ofsted for the past four years.

There have been several high profile child deaths through neglect or abuse in the city in recent years, including those of Keanu Williams in 2011 and Khyra Ishaq in 2008.

Mr Timpson said his immediate priority was to "stabilise" children's services in the city and asked the council to work with Lord Warner and an independent expert panel, which will include the Chief Social Worker Isabelle Trowler, and which will report directly to the DfE.

Lord Warner's work begins immediately and his first task will be producing an "urgent actions" report on the council-run service by May.

He will also report back to the council and the minister in June with recommended measures to "strengthen senior management capacity" in children's services.

Mr Timpson said the city council must also work with the expert panel and Lord Warner to ensure "a coherent plan of improvement was in place" for the department - the final say on the adequacy of those proposals will rest with the minister.

The commissioner will also work with the council on a long-term, five-year budget to deliver improvements to children's services.

Concluding his letter, Mr Timpson said: "We need to work together to drive the changes which are vital to give the children and young people of Birmingham the safe and excellent service that they are entitled to."

Professor Le Grand was sent in to carry out a review of Birmingham's plans to improve its child social care provision after repeatedly poor Ofsted ratings, and against the back-drop of failings highlighted in recent serious case reviews into the deaths of both Khyra and Keanu.

In both victims' cases, children's services were among several professional safeguarding agencies - which are supposed to protect youngsters from harm - criticised for failing to intervene in their care.

Khyra, aged seven, was starved and mistreated by her mother and partner and weighed just 2st 9lb (16.5kg) when she was found at home in Handsworth, having succumbed to an infection.

The serious case review concluded there were several missed opportunities to intervene before her death and there were "a number of significant missed opportunities" to intervene in the case of two-year-old Keanu, who died from a head injury.

The little boy had 37 injuries on his body when he died, and his mother Rebecca Shuttleworth is serving a life sentence for his murder.

The serious case review found child social workers, the police and health professionals had collectively failed to prevent the toddler's death.

The Le Grand review stated the problem of the poorly performing children's services department was "considerable and long-standing", dating back to 2002.

Since 2008, the department has been on government notice to improve, concluding with the DfE decision at the end of last year for an independent report.

The review team found inconsistency in practice by frontline social workers was "a major problem" but also highlighted that the wider council, including politicians "appear not to have paid enough attention" to the children's services department, which in turn developed an isolated "stand-alone culture" to working.

It also concluded that while recent events, particularly the serious case review into Keanu's death had provided a wake-up call improvements were needed, previous fact-finding had focused on identifying the mistakes rather than solutions to any problems.

The Le Grand review also painted a picture of over-worked child social workers suffering from low morale, a department "haemorrhaging social workers" and until recently, disjointed management with senior staff leaving and posts remaining vacant.

However, the report said there was "widespread confidence" in the leadership of the new director of children's services Peter Hay, who took on the job in 2013, a new "political commitment" to improving matters, and evidence suggesting recruitment and retention of staff was "stabilising".

But the review's authors added there could be another potentially serious issue, which was the "possible unidentified risk to vulnerable children".

Professor Le Grand's team will now draft a report looking at what possible options should be available for the Education Secretary to intervene where councils are failing to protect children, where as Mr Timpson said "the scale and persistent nature of the problem indicates the need for a radical, long-term solution".

The review, in its recommendations, states that these options would include "the splitting of commissioning and provision" with a report due for publication in September, and a follow-up report by the Le Grand team has also been ordered to "look at the future commissioning of services in Birmingham in particular".

Birmingham City Council has welcomed the report's recommendations and the appointment of a commissioner, saying in an all-party statement: "Improving outcomes and services for children and young people is the city council's number one priority.

It continued: "As a council we have not given the consistent focus that children's services needed to see through improvements and make children safe.

The council said: "It is also evident, however, that inspection and intervention have not yet had the desired impact on improvement either," adding that a unified response involving the council, DfE and Ofsted was "the only way forward".

Mr Hay welcomed the report and - referring to an on-going departmental Ofsted - said it was "fully expected" the council would continue to be rated inadequate, when inspectors report back in May, although he added: "This time, we face this inadequate judgment with the clarity given by this report about what is going to be different and how we make change and improvement stick."