Ofsted boss to be grilled over failures to uncover Rotherham grooming scandal

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A leading Ofsted director is to be grilled by MPs about why the service’s inspectors did not do enough to expose the child sexual exploitation scandal in Rotherham.

Debbie Jones, director with responsibility for inspecting children’s services, is to go before the Communities and Local Government Committee next Tuesday, January 20.

Debbie Jones, Ofsted national director for social care .

Debbie Jones, Ofsted national director for social care .

It follows the Jay Report revealing at least 1,400 children in the town were victims of abuse between 1997 and 2013, with South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council failing to act.

The committee, which is chaired by Sheffield MP Clive Betts, have called Ms Jones after it raised concerns about ‘serious flaws’ in the Ofsted inspection regime, which failed to detect the scale of abuse going on in Rotherham.

A committee spokesman said: “The Jay Report gave rise to serious questions about the responsibilities of Ofsted in relation to the inspection of children’s services at Rotherham Council.

“This evidence session will seek answers from the current Ofsted director with responsibility for inspecting children’s services, as well as examining wider questions such whether or not Rotherham is symptomatic of a wider problem amongst local authorities in England.”

Mr Betts said in November: “Repeated Ofsted inspections in Rotherham failed to lift the lid on the council’s shameful inability to tackle child sexual exploitation. We will want to question Ofsted about their inspection regime and ask why their inspections were so ineffective in Rotherham.”

The most recent Ofsted report of Rotherham’s children’s services, published in November, found them to be ‘inadequate’ - with ‘widespread or serious failures’ recorded.