Rotherham Council could be run from Whitehall after Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles ordered an inquiry into its failings.
Louise Casey, who heads the Government’s Troubled Families programme, will lead the inspection, and Mr Pickles said he is prepared to intervene directly.
The move follows the report by Professor Alexis Jay which outlined how 1,400 children had been subjected to sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013, triggering the resignations of council leader Roger Stone and chief executive Martin Kimber.
Mr Pickles said the council ‘utterly failed its children’.
“We cannot undo the permanent harm these children have suffered. But we can and should take steps to ensure this never happens again,” he said.
Ms Casey has been asked to report back by the end of November on whether the council is functioning properly.