More powers given back to Rotherham Council in wake of child sex abuse scandal

Rotherham Council.
Rotherham Council.
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The Government has handed more powers back to Rotherham Council.

Commissioners were brought in to run the authority in the wake of the child sexual abuse scandal.

But powers are slowly being returned to council staff and elected members. The latest to be given back by communities secretary Sajid Javid include economic growth, town centre management and park maintenance.

Decision-making powers for adult social care are also set to be returned to Rotherham councillors – but as work to modernise these services is underway, commissioners will have additional oversight with the power to veto key service decisions should they have any concerns.

The council got licensing powers back in December, and about a third of services were given back in February last year.

The latest announcement – which is now subject to local views – follows the submission of evidence from lead commissioner Sir Derek Myers.

Sir Derek said: “We have seen continued progress in more areas of the council, and I am pleased that the secretary of state for communities and local government has agreed to further functions being returned.

"We will continue to work with the council on those areas not yet returned and we would expect to make further recommendations in the coming months.”

Council leader Chris Read added: "This is welcome news and another positive step in the right direction for the council, and for Rotherham.

“Today’s announcement reflects the significant improvements which we have made across the board.

"But in this next phase we will continue to work hard to ensure the council improves and better serves Rotherham residents. Alongside commissioners we are determined to complete this work.”

This proposal will now be considered by the council leadership and members. The communities secretary will then consider any representations before making a final decision on whether to return these functions to the council.

The Government-appointed commissioners have been given until March 2019 to improve and hand back all services.

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