Rotherham Council takeover scheduled to last until 2019

Julie Kenny CBE
Julie Kenny CBE
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A takeover of scandal-hit Rotherham Council by expert commissioners is scheduled to last for four years.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles announced yesterday it is planned the emergency intervention will run until the end of March 2019, although it is hoped powers will gradually be passed back to the council before that date.

One of the new commissioners, Rotherham businesswoman Julie Kenny CBE, told The Star they hope to be able to hand back powers to the local authority before the deadline.

Mrs Kenny, who runs security equipment manufacturer Pyronix and is a former High Sheriff of South Yorkshire, said: “The challenges have been laid out quite clearly in the Jay report and the Casey report.

“It is effectively a four-year intervention. However, we are hopeful that through our time we will be able to hand back powers. It could be less time and we hope that is the case.”

She said she is hopeful council staff will welcome the intervention and improvements will be made.

“The Rotherham people deserve to have confidence in their council. It is really important to me and the people I know that Rotherham has the best council it deserves.”

The Government has also promised £250,000 to set up a new outreach programme to help victims of child sexual exploitation in the town. It will be similar to the Risky Business scheme that warned about the scale of abuse in the town, but was shut down by the council.

The commissioners are being appointed in the wake of the damning Casey report, which found the council remained ‘in denial’ about child grooming. Sir Derek Myers is lead commissioner, Stella Manzie will take the role of the managing director commissioner and Malcolm Newsam is children’s social care commissioner. Mary Ney and Mrs Kenny will be supporting commissioners.

Mr Pickles said the people of Rotherham have been ‘profoundly let down’ by the council, resulting in the intervention taking place.