MPs anger at Rochdale boss pay-off

The Government should take steps to claw back some of the pay-off given to the former Rochdale Council chief executive who presided over a sickening grooming scandal, an MP has said.

Roger Ellis, who was in charge when a grooming gang operated in the area, took early retirement and reportedly received a near £80,000 pay-off.

Rochdale Labour MP Simon Danczuk wants ministers to stop local authority bosses from being rewarded when there has been a failure to protect vulnerable children.

His comments came as a report from the Home Affairs Select Committee said catastrophic failures by local authorities allowed child abuse to take place.

It argued that council bosses must "be held accountable for the appalling consequences of their indifference to the suffering of vulnerable children".

Mr Danczuk said "I have long campaigned for council bosses to be held accountable for turning a blind eye to child abuse and this report comes to the same conclusion.

"The problem is that council officers in Rochdale, who ignored pleas for help by young girls and presided over a system that failed to protect children being abused, have not been held accountable.

"Just look at the case of the former chief executive, Roger Ellis. He was rewarded for failure and left with a bumper pay-off and councillors singing his praises."

He added that the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles had to stop a culture of council bosses being rewarded for failure and being allowed to quietly retire to avoid disciplinary action.

"The Home Affairs Select Committee report makes it very clear that Rochdale Council officials who let down young children should not be allowed to evade responsibility," he said.

"At the moment the system allows bosses to leave with pay-offs, escape disciplinary action and take up work with another authority with the same responsibility for children.

"This can't be right and the Communities Secretary has to take action to maintain the integrity of local government. This is an appalling advert for public services. I am sure the victims of child abuse who were so badly let down would be disgusted at what's happening."

Rochdale Council's own inquiry found that Mr Ellis did not "appear to be interested in child social care issues".

Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz MP, described Mr Ellis' evidence during its inquiry as "deeply disappointing".