Rotherham Council free from government control after ‘moral compass’ restored

Rotherham Council has formally regained control of all its powers after the Government stepped in following the town’s child sex abuse scandal.

By The Star Newsroom
Monday, 01 April, 2019, 10:30

The council was placed under government control after the Casey report found significant failings and deemed the council ‘unfit for purpose’.

Powers have been gradually returned and intervention was withdrawn last year. It formally ended on Sunday following a final ‘healthcheck' by commissioners.

Rotherham town centre.

In a report, they said: “The pace of improvement across the Council has increased beyond expectations, which bodes well for future prospects.

“The political and managerial leadership of the Council have re-established the council’s moral compass. There is clarity on the council’s values and ethos and a whole council commitment to safeguarding young people.

“This gives confidence that the council will be vigilant in protecting the vulnerable, will avoid back-sliding or failure to address adverse issues as they arise.”

Rotherham Council’s chief executive Sharon Kemp.

In a joint letter, communities secretary James Brokenshire and children’s minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “We see no evidence that suggests that Government should seek to extend these directions or put in place new ones.”

The council lost control of its powers after Dame Louise Casey found significant failings at the council contributed to at least 1,400 children being abused in the area over a 16-year period.

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Council leader Coun Chris Read said: “The end of the intervention is an important milestone, and one that should give residents confidence in the changes that we have made.

Dame Louise Casey. Picture: Katie Collins/PA Wire

“But we take nothing for granted and we continue to work hard to deliver the services that people rely on.”

Chief executive Sharon Kemp said: “The review highlighted that the progress made since September has surpassed the expectations of the former commissioners.”

John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne, said: “This is a positive step for Rotherham and reflects the improvements that have been made at the council over the past four years.

The Casey Report found Rotherham Council 'not fit for purpose'.

“It’s good to see that the review shows the pace of improvement has surpassed expectations. The end of the intervention is a significant achievement and residents will be able to take assurance that the council is on the right path in terms of progress.”

Rotherham Council leader Chris Read.