Rotherham Council is still in ‘overwhelming’ and ‘resolute’ denial of the extent of child sex abuse in the town, a new report said today.
The report, an investigation into the council’s response to the Jay Report published last year, said: “Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council demonstrates a resolute denial of what has happened in the borough.
“This took several forms - notable in their recurrence - including dismissal of Professor Jay’s findings, denial of knowledge of the ‘scale and the scope’ of CSE, blaming others and denial that CSE remains a serious problem in present day Rotherham.
“When inspectors commenced work in Rotherham we were struck by the overwhelming denial of what Professor Jay set out in her report. The attitude was so prevalent that we had to go back through many of the aspects of her work in order to satisfy ourselves that the Council had no grounds upon which further action could be delayed.
“We soon discovered, however, that RMBC has a history of denial.
“The clearest manifestation of denial was that Member after Member and officer after officer disputed the methodology of Professor Jay’s report.
“The numbers of victims were challenged, the cases she referred to were questioned and the interviews she referred to were questioned and the interviews she had undertaken were queried.
“When asked, 70% of the current Rotherham Councillors we spoke to (including those in the Cabinet) disputed Professor Jay’s findings.”
The report went on to add that claims by senior figures in the wake of the Jay Report that suggest the Council has improved are false.
It referenced quotes from former Chief Executive Martin Kimber whish said that there have been ‘many improvements’ over the last four years.
The report added: “Inspectors judged that this was false optimism by the former CE. It is an example of a wider culture of clinging onto anything positive within RMBC and not facing up to the truth of the situation.”
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