Call for Thacker to donate pay-off to victims’ charity

Former Rotherham director of children & young peoples services  Joyce Thacker.

Former Rotherham director of children & young peoples services Joyce Thacker.

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It says the probe should focus on whether there was a ‘deliberate cover-up’ after files relating to the town’s child sexual exploitation problems were stolen from the office of a council researcher in 2002.

MPs on the committee also concluded South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council ‘ignored numerous credible warnings about the scale of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham’.

Furious abuse victims today said Mrs Thacker should donate her pay-off to the Rotherham Women’s Counselling Service.

A spokesman for Rotherham Council said: “The council reached mutual agreement on the early termination of Mrs Thacker’s contract of employment. The agreement was for payment of £40,000, which was less than the contractual notice entitlement.”

Mrs Thacker had faced repeated calls to resign or be sacked in the wake of the Jay Report, which revealed at least 1,400 children in had been sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013. She was signed off on sick leave in the days before her departure. At the Home Affairs Select Committee hearing the week before she left, Mrs Thacker said she would not be standing down as she had worked ‘tirelessly’ to tackle the issue of child abuse in Rotherham. But committee chairman Keith Vaz said the MPs did not accept her evidence and believed she should resign ‘as a matter of conscience’. Mrs Thacker has been head of children’s services since 2008 and was deputy head for two years.

One child abuse victim, now 29, today said Mrs Thacker should donate her pay-off to charity. Jessica, not her real name, said: “The fact these people get a payout at all absolutely disgusts me. It is shocking. She should donate the money.”

The committee report said there were still ‘questions to be answered’ despite Mrs Thacker, police commissioner Shaun Wright, and council chief executive Martin Kimber all resigning. Mr Vaz added: “Rotherham deserves a fresh start. Public officials must be held to account for their failure to act.”

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