Live updates

MP: 'Serious questions' need to be asked of Ofsted

The education watchdog needs to answer some "serious questions" about why they failed to expose Rotherham council's inability to tackle prolific child sexual exploitation, the head of a group of MPs said.

Ofsted should have done more to expose the widespread abuse, Clive Betts said. Credit: PA

Labour's Clive Betts, who chairs the Communities and Local Government committee, hit out at Ofsted, who he said failed to see the poor care Rotherham council was giving vulnerable girls.

Serious questions also need to be asked of Ofsted. Repeated Ofsted inspections in Rotherham failed to lift the lid on the council's shameful inability to tackle child sexual exploitation. As a committee, we will want to question Ofsted about their inspection regime and ask why their inspections were so ineffective in Rotherham.

It is an important matter of public policy that senior council staff be held accountable for their actions. Arrangements should be put in place to bring to account not just council officers still in post but those who have moved on from an authority before serious questions about their performance emerge.

– Clive Betts

Child protection across the UK 'must be reviewed'

Measures to protect children from serious abuse must be reviewed following the widespread sexual molestation which was uncovered in the wake of the Rotherham scandal, MPs have warned.

Government needs to review child protection advice, MPs said. Credit: PA

A scathing report from the Communities and Local Government Committee condemned a watchdog because it did not expose failings at Rotherham council which led to the abuse of 1,400 children between 1997 and 2013.

MPs recognised the south Yorkshire council had many child protection policies in place, but some were "divorced from reality" and officers had to be held to account for the "systematic" failings.

The committee pointed to Ofsted, the education watchdog, which they said had failed to protect children in the town despite numerous inspections.

The committee also called for an investigation into why key documents from between 1999 to 2003 have gone missing.

However, the town is "not an outlier" for abuse and all councils must review their systems for protecting children while government must look again at its guidance, it added.


Senior MP 'astounded' by £40,000 Rotherham pay-off

A senior Labour MP has savaged Rotherham Borough Council for giving a £40,000 pay-off to an official who quit following a damning report into the events.

Keith Vaz, who chairs the Home Affairs Committee, said he was "astounded" at the pay-off to former director of children's services, Joyce Thacker.

Keith Vaz speaking at the Labour conference. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Mr Vaz said: "I am astounded that taxpayers' money has been used in what will be seen as a reward for the failures of Rotherham Council."

"The committee recommended Joyce Thacker, and others, resign for their inaction in light of the huge number of child sexual abuse cases. It was inappropriate of her to accept such a large sum when she left," he added.

£40,000 pay-off for Rotherham official

A council at the centre of a child sexual exploitation scandal gave a £40,000 pay-off to an official who quit following a damning report into the events.

Rotherham's former director of children's services Joyce Thacker received a 40,000 pound pay-off. Credit: PA

Rotherham Borough Council disclosed the payment to former strategic director of children's services Joyce Thacker in response to a Freedom of Information request.

The council said it had reached a mutual agreement on the termination of her contract and the sum was "less than the contractual notice requirement".

The scale of the abuse in Rotherham was revealed in August this year when Professor Alexis Jay published a report which outlined how at least 1,400 children had been sexually exploited between 1997 and 2003 and questioned why highly placed public figures had not tackled the problem.

Police chief warns of more Rotherham-style abuse cases

There will be "many more" Rotherham-style child sex abuse cases uncovered in the coming months, a leading police officer has said.

Sex crimes involving children have for “too long been a hidden crime,” Norfolk Police Chief Constable Simon Bailey told the Guardian, as he suggested the Rotherham abuse scandal was the tip of the iceberg.

Norfolk Police Chief Constable Simon Bailey warned the scale of the problem was far larger than previously thought. Credit: Norfolk Police/PA Wire

Mr Bailey, the national lead officer for the child protection and abuse investigation, warned that the scale of the problem was far larger than previously thought.

“We don’t know for sure. But I think it’s tens of thousands of victims [a year] of an appalling crime,” he added.


  1. Calendar

Joyce Thacker leaves Rotherham Council by 'mutual agreement'

Joyce Thacker has left her role as director of children's services on Rotherham Council by "mutual agreement" according to a council statement.

Joyce Thacker resigns from Rotherham Council

Ms Thacker had come under fire after the publication of a report into child abuse in the town.

She is the latest official in the area to leave their post following the report.

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright stepped down this week after almost a month of pressure.

Victim angry at 'dragged out' Shaun Wright resignation

A victim of sexual abuse from Rotherham has hit out at Shaun Wright following his resignation as South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner.

The victim told ITV News Mr Wright had "dragged out" his resignation and should have stepped down three weeks ago.

The chair of Parliament's Home Affairs Committee, Keith Vaz, said the resignation was "the right thing" but that he also wished it had come earlier.

ITV News Correspondent Damon Green reports:

Ed Miliband welcomes Shaun Wright resignation

Ed Miliband says it is "right" that South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright has resigned.

The Labour leader wrote on Twitter that authorities must "listen to the victims" to ensure there is not a repeat of the scandal.

Load more updates