Years of missing minutes of child protection conferences have been “found by chance” by South Yorkshire Police.
Professor Alexis Jay had raised concerns she had been unable to view minutes of meetings from the late 1990s and early 2000s relating to child protection issues in the town when she conducted her independent inquiry in 2014.
They related to an organisation called the ‘Key Players Group’ which involved police and council figures, as well as voluntary agencies in the town. It was linked to the Risky Business project that had been set up to help victims of child sexual exploitation.
But a report said “some minutes had been found by chance by the South Yorkshire Police as part of their enquiries” in 2014, following the publication of the Jay report. Minutes of 11 meetings were discovered among 175 council boxes and files held by the police.
The report said: “It was the weak arrangements for archiving records within the council, compounded by a lack of a more structured and corporate response to Professor Jay’s requests, rather than a lack of interest by the council which led to minutes remaining undiscovered.
“Based on the findings from this investigation, it is concluded that the council’s records management arrangements were insufficient to record the contents of files sent for archiving and future retrieval.
“Primarily for this reason, and the lack of a broader resource for co-ordinating a response to Professor Jay, it is concluded the council did not have adequate arrangements in place to manage the information requests received from Professor Jay.”