This report deals with the very particular challenges that are faced by senior and middle leaders in local authorities that have been judged ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted and are considered by the DfE to be in need of intervention. It draws heavily on two presentations, one by Colin Hilton (Director, Sector Led Improvement) and the other by John Harris (Children’s Improvement Adviser), at a joint VSC/CIB seminar attended by DCSs and senior colleagues from a representative sample of authorities that are, or have been, in difficulties. Both the ‘signatures of risk’ and the ‘improvement and learning journey’ are drawn from the work of the CIB on sector led improvement. Other views included in the report are those of the participants at the seminar. Because the discussions were conducted under the Chatham House rule, no specific opinions have been attributed either to individuals or to the local authorities in which they work.