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Rotherham Council declared fit to take back full control as Government plans end to commissioners

New chapter: Rotherham Council is now capable of running its own affairs, the Goverment believes.
New chapter: Rotherham Council is now capable of running its own affairs, the Goverment believes.
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Commissioners are set to be pulled out of Rotherham later this to complete the reversal of Government intervention which began more than three years ago after the child sex abuse scandal broke.

A panel of Government appointed commissioners were installed to oversee the work of the council and services have gradually been handed back to the council over that period following a series of inspections, leaving children’s social care among the services subject to outside intervention.

The announcement was made by Communities Secretary James Brokenshire who said: “Vulnerable young people were repeatedly failed in Rotherham, which is why the Government stepped in to ensure these errors can never occur again.

“The Council has made strong progress and, having carefully considered evidence provided by our commissioners, I am minded to return all powers.

“This is not a decision I take lightly, but I am assured the council has turned itself around and is now providing the services that its residents deserve and expect.”

A final decision is due by the Government in September, after the council submits its own representations on the proposals and there has been a period for public submissions, which will be considered.

Rotherham Council Leader Chris Read said: “This is recognition of all the work that has gone in, by lots and lots of people over the last three years or so.

“People are very familiar with the failings which happened in Rotherham. A lot of people stepped up to face that and we know we have been on the right track, not least because Ofsted came and validated the process.

“It is a really big day for us,” he said.

The commissioners have been paid on a ‘day rate’, though as the council’s performance has improved their visits have become less frequent, meaning the cost to the authority has reduced.

However, ending their involvement will also free up some extra money for front line services.

Coun Read said the next priority for the council would be balancing the budget for next year, ensuring adult and children’s social care services make the best use of the money they have available.