Children in Rotherham today are ‘as safe as they can be’, claims the deputy leader of Rotherham Council.
The claim comes after the Jay Report revealed there were at least 1,400 victims of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
The Star spoke to deputy leader Paul Lakin about the scandal in the wake of repeated calls from the public for the current Cabinet to resign.
He said: “You have seen from last week that leader Coun Roger Stone has resigned and he was right to resign.
“The Labour party has moved swiftly to suspend four people and there are other investigations ongoing.
“Now that’s for the Labour party and the Labour whip in Rotherham to look at.”
He also said himself and Coun Kimber were instrumental in setting up the Jay report. He added: “The Jay report was actioned by the Labour council in Rotherham following the revelations of 2013.
“I had a discussion with the-then leader Coun Stone in the presence of Coun John Doyle and other cabinet members and strongly recommended that we needed to undertake an independent investigation, and there was no argument from Coun Stone, a bit of a discussion.
“Coun Stone then rang the chief executive and told him to get on with commissioning that report.”
Asked about the safety of children in Rotherham today, he said: “I can be as confident as anybody in Rotherham can be that children are safe. We’ve had a number of inspections and investigations and reports and I can go back to the Ofsted inspection of 2010 that said that services for keeping children and young people safe were adequate, so did the 2011 inspection, so did the 2012 inspection, we’ve had a Barnardo’s best practice review, and the new chair of safeguarding boards did his own diagnostic for services into sexual exploitation.
“A number of recommendations came out of those which we implemented or are still implementing. That ensured that services today for children and young people in Rotherham are as safe as they can be.”