Rotherham Council handed back further powers in wake of child sex abuse scandal

Sajid Javid.
Sajid Javid.
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The Government has handed back more powers to Rotherham Council after they were taken away in the wake of the child sex abuse scandal.

Commissioners were brought in to run the authority after a report by Professor Alexis Jay highlighted a number of council failings between 1997 and 2013 when at least 1400 children were sexually exploited in the town.

But areas of responsibility are slowly being returned to the council, and communities secretary Sajid Javid has today confirmed the return of seven additional powers.

Mr Javid said the move reflects the "significant progress" made by the authority.

The returned powers are:-

*Adult social care and the council’s partnership with the NHS

*Appointment of council representatives to external bodies

*External partnerships – including relationships with the health and wellbeing board and the children and young people’s partnership – although executive decisions over children’s services remain with the children’s social care commissioner

*Economic growth – including attracting investment from the private sector

*Town centre management – including economic regeneration through retail investment and heritage works

*Grounds maintenance and street cleansing – including maintenance of local parks, highway verges and parish council land, and

*Audit.

This is a significant milestone for the council which regained 12 powers last year. In addition, Mary Ney will become the lead commissioner, replacing Sir Derek Myers who will be stepping down at the end of this month.

Powers still with the commissioners include children’s social care, human resources, waste collection, community safety and asset management.

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