Independent inspection of children’s services in Rotherham

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

The head of the government’s Troubled Families unit, Louise Casey, is to conduct an independent inspection of children’s services in Rotherham council in the wake of the child abuse scandal.

Ms Casey has been asked to review the quality of the Rotherham children’s services and also draw any wider lessons for local government, including the coordination between government agencies. She is expected to produce a report by the end of the year.

Rotherham council’s chief executive, Martin Kimber, announced last week he was stepping down in the wake of the report by Professor Alexis Jay, which outlined how hundreds of children had been subjected to trafficking, rape and other sexual exploitation between 1997 and 2013 and how this had been ignored by range of agencies, including police, councillors and council officials.

Ms Casey will be asked to examine whether the Council’s governance allows for:

  • Adequate scrutiny by councillors
  • The covering up of information and whether whistle-blowers are silenced
  • Whether the council took and continues to take appropriate action against staff guilty of gross misconduct
  • Whether the council was and continues to be subject to institutionalised political correctness, affecting its decision-making on sensitive issues
  • Whether the council undertook and continues to undertake sufficient liaisons with other agencies, particularly the police, local health partners, and the safeguarding board
  • Whether the council took and continues to take sufficient steps to ensure only fit and proper persons are permitted to hold a taxi licence
  • Finally, whether the council is now taking steps to address past and current weaknesses or shortcomings in the exercise of its functions and has the capacity to continue to do so.

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