Rotherham Council’s cabinet quit after new report says children are ‘still not safe’ in town

Rotherham Town Hall. Picture Scott Merrylees

Rotherham Town Hall. Picture Scott Merrylees

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Children are ‘still not safe enough’ in Rotherham, according to the author of a damning new report which sparked the mass resignation of Rotherham Council’s entire cabinet.

Government commissioners will be sent in to run the council after the Casey Report found the authority was ‘not fit for purpose’ because of its ‘resolute denial’ of the 1,400-victim child sex abuse scandal identified in the Jay Report last summer.

Miss Casey, director-general for troubled families at the government’s Communities Department was asked to investigate the council’s response to the scandal by communities secretary Eric Pickles.

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The report, published yesterday, said: “Rotherham Council is not fit for purpose. It is failing in its duties to protect vulnerable children and young people from harm.

“When inspectors commenced work in Rotherham we were struck by the overwhelming denial of what Professor Jay set out in her report.”

Whistleblowers were silenced with pay-offs or ‘bullied out’ if they refused to stay silent and no chief officer ever faced disciplinary investigation in the wake of the Jay Report.

The report said: “Rotherham does not learn, even in the most tragic circumstances, and it has not improved.”

Miss Casey’s report said 70 per cent of councillors were in denial about the problem. She told The Star: “I still think children in Rotherham are not safe enough.

“I think what surprised me was the lack of action taken to address the Jay Report.

“I didn’t think it was good enough. It’s partly because there is a lack of acceptance of the Jay Report.

“It’s a classic response – when you don’t like what someone is saying, you criticise what you are hearing.”

The report has sparked a new criminal investigation by the National Crime Agency. All seven members of the council’s cabinet resigned after it was published, along with council leader Paul Lakin. A council spokesman said: “We recognise the need for a fresh start but also appreciate we need to continue to deliver services.”

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