A former senior official at children's care watchdog Ofsted has apologised for the organisation's failure to uncover widespread sexual exploitation in Rotherham.
John Goldup, who joined Ofsted as director of social care in 2009 and was appointed deputy chief inspector in 2012, said that the watchdog did not focus as it should have done on the dangers of child sex exploitation in inspections in the South Yorkshire town
Rotherham Council was last week taken under Government control and its entire political leadership resigned after the Casey Report's withering indictment of its failure to tackle monumental levels of child sexual exploitation.
Louise Casey's report came after an inquiry by Alexis Jay last year found that more than 1,400 children had been subjected to rape, violence and trafficking by gangs of mainly Asian men over a 16-year period.
Giving evidence to the House of Commons Communities and Local Government Committee, Mr Goldup was asked whether he wanted to apologise to children in Rotherham.
The former deputy chief inspector stressed that he could not speak on behalf of Ofsted, but told MPs: "Yes I do. I agree entirely with what (Ofsted head) Sir Michael Wilshaw said to the Education Select Committee two weeks ago, that we didn't get it right with child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. He apologised for that and I apologise for that.
"The inspection frameworks at the time didn't have the focus on child sexual exploitation that they would and should have had if we had known and understood then what we know and understand now.
"It is clear from reading back over the inspection reports that we didn't appreciate the scale of the child sexual exploitation issue in Rotherham and we didn't scrutinise sufficiently the effectiveness with which it was being responded to."
Mr Goldup added: "Having said that, I would also want to point out to the committee that it was when Ofsted first directly went in to do a social care inspection in Rotherham in 2009, it was an Ofsted inspection that for the first time exposed the failings in Rotherham and said very clearly that Rotherham was a failing authority.
"I think that does also say something about the strength and the robustness of Ofsted inspection then and subsequently, but I absolutely accept that we didn't have the focus on child sexual exploitation that we certainly would and should have now."
Ofsted's John Goldup says til 2012 they thought child abuse was localised issue. Only when Rochdale erupted they realised it was widespread.
A lawyer claims more evidence could emerge and the scandal "is not going away." David Greenwood represents 38 of 1,400 victims.
A police officer and two councillors are accused of having sex with victims of the Rotherham child abuse scandal, it has been reported.