Council staff who failed to protect children identified

Rochdale Council staff who failed to protect youngsters from a child sex ring have been identified and could be sacked once an internal investigation is completed.

It is understood that the council has identified around 12 workers who are under investigation after a damning review criticised "deficiencies" in the way children's social care responded to the victims' needs.

The review was published last month and came four months after nine men were convicted of the systematic grooming and sexual abuse of girls in Heywood and Rochdale.

Rochdale Council said that any of the workers who have since left the local authority could be referred to the social workers' regulatory body which has the power to have them struck off.

Current staff could face action, ranging from extra training to dismissal, once the council review is completed early in the new year.

Linda Fisher, director of corporate services at Rochdale Borough Council, said: "Our internal investigation into the handling of child sexual exploitation cases is progressing and will identify what action the council, as an employer needs to take.

"As a result, a number of staff are subject to internal disciplinary procedures.

"Where suspension is appropriate, it will take place. Where appropriate, former employees will be referred to the Health and Care Professions Council, the professional regulatory body for social workers.

"We are absolutely determined to build on the changes that have already been put in place to make young people more safe and secure and won't hesitate to take whatever action is appropriate where unacceptable practice is uncovered in accordance with the council's procedures."

The Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board review said the "deficiencies" in the way children's social care responded to the victims' needs were caused by "patchy" training of frontline staff.