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Former-mayor 'said he had right to kiss pretty ladies'

Staff past and present accused members of the organisation of sexism.

"Sexist and bullying" behaviour was and still remains an issue within Rotherham Council, a damning inspection into the organisation has indicated.

Today's damning report featured claims that a previous mayor of the town had said "in his year of mayoral officer it was his right to kiss all the pretty ladies in his office".

"I remember thinking, 'this is so Rotherham,'" the unnamed former senior officer was quoted by the report as saying.

And on accusations in Alexis Jay's report that staff in the organisation were too "politically correct" to deal with child abuse allegations relating to Asian men in the town, a current senior officer said: "They couldn’t be further from politically correct.They were bullies, they were sexist.”

However, other members of staff did claim that the council "overcompensated" in its efforts not to be seen as racist.

“We weren’t allowed to hold forums near pubs because it might upset the Muslimpeople," a former officer told inspectors. "Muslim colleagues thought this was silly…”

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'Missing' files found in council's offices, report claims

A grab from today's report into Rotherham Council.

Louise Casey report into Rotherham Council accused staff of failing to try as hard as possible to find documents relating to abuse.

Some "missing" children's case files belonging to Risky Business, a local youth project, were found to be held in its main offices all along, the report said.

It said from 'key players meetings' highlighted as lost by Alexis Jay's previous report were also found "within weeks" despite previous claims they could not be find.

"It seems that when RMBC says things are missing and lost,that they may not have looked that hard," the report said.

Rotherham Council accused of 'cover-up' efforts

Rotherham Council has been accused of going to "some lengths to cover up information and silence whistle-blowers" in an inspection report following the town's abuse scandal.

Today's report found that "the Council’s concern with its reputation leads it to cover up information which it would prefer not to be in the public domain."

It said the most high profile example of this related to a serious case review of a child who was murdered in the town in 2010, which initially featured heavy redactions until a challenge from The Times newspaper.

The Times claimed that the review - which was eventually published in a less-heavily redacted version in 2013 - had been censored to mask associated failures by staff within the council.

Rotherham Council has yet to respond to the numerous allegations contained in the report.

'Past and present council failures' over Rotherham abuse

Last year's Jay Report found that more than 1,400 children had been abused in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013. Credit: PA

A government-commissioned report into Rotherham Council has accused the authority of "past and present failures" in dealing with allegations of widespread child abuse in the town.

Louise Casey's inspection report found that staff at the authority denied any responsibility after findings from a previous report by Alexis Jay, which highlighted abuse against more than 1,400 children between 1997 and 2013.

Her report said figures in the council believed "they were no worse than anyone else" and claimed the "media were out to get them".

Casey said: "This inspection revealed past and present failures to accept, understand and combat the issue of child sexual exploitation (CSE), resulting in a lack of support for victims and insufficient action against known perpetrators.

"The council's culture is unhealthy: bullying, sexism, suppression and misplaced 'political correctness' have cemented its failures. The council is currently incapable of tackling its weaknesses, without a sustained intervention."

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'What happened in Rotherham could happen anywhere'

What happened in Rotherham could "could happen anywhere", a victim of abuse in the town told ITV News.

The girl, one of an estimated 1,400 child sex victims in the area, said: "It can happen to anyone. It's not just a problem in Rotherham. It's a problem all over the country.

"What officials need to do is acknowledge that it's a problem and show that they are going to tackle it. Not just say yes, we know it's a problem, but to start and prove to people that they are going to challenge it."

Rotherham's new director of children's services Jane Parfrement said any council worker not up to the job faces the sack.

An Ofsted report into child sexual exploitation identified seven other problem areas in the England where services need to be improved.

It said Brent, Bristol, Camden, Kent, Luton, Oldham and Rochdale, are "not responding to child sexual exploitation consistently or well" and leaving children "exposed to risk of harm".

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Ofsted: 'Not enough to wait for the next scandal'

Ofsted's national director for social care has said it not enough to 'simply wait for the next scandal to happen' in a damning report on councils' response to child sexual exploitation.

While we have found examples of excellent frontline practice, it is clear that some areas have moved faster, further and more effectively than others.

It is not enough to simply wait for the next scandal to happen. We are calling on all local authorities and their partners to ensure that they have a comprehensive multi-agency strategy and action plan in place to tackle child sexual exploitation.

– Debbie Jones, Ofsted's national director for social care
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