Rotherham abuse: Council leader and cabinet to resign after damning report

Rotherham Borough Council's leader, Paul Lakin, and the authority's cabinet are to resign after a damning report into the authority found it was "not fit for purpose". Government-appointed commissioners are set to take over.

Louise Casey's report into the handling the grooming scandal in the borough - commissioned by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles - accused the council of attempts to cover-up evidence and past and present failures in leadership.

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Rotherham Council accepts findings of Casey report

Jan Ormondroyd is the temporary replacement for Martin Kimber, who resigned in the wake of the Rotherham abuse scandal. Credit: ITV Calendar

Rotherham Council's interim chief executive says the authority accepts the damning criticism it faced in yesterday's inspection report.

Jan Ormondroyd said the report contained a "catalogue of cultural and system failings", and apologised for the "devastating impact that this has had on the lives of the people of Rotherham".

She added that the council needed a "move towards stability" and "the fresh start which [report author] Louise Casey and her team have called for".

We understand the impact of the current uncertainties around the future leadership and management of the Council on the people of Rotherham, and also on staff in the Council. I have written to the Department for Communities and Local Government, urging them to confirm urgently who the five Commissioners who will take over the running of the Council will be and to ensure they are in place as soon as possible.

– Jan Ormondroyd, Rotherham Council interim chief executive

'How would council members feel if it was their daughter?'

The mother of a girl who was abused as a teenager in Rotherham has told ITV News the outgoing council failed to do their jobs and protect the town's children.

After the council was declared "not fit for purpose" in a damning report, the mother said: "I wonder how they would feel if it was their daughter - the police and the council want to think about how many lives they have ruined.

"They just would not listen, and they did not do their jobs and protect our children."

ITV News Social Affairs Editor Penny Marshall reports:


Rotherham councillor: We did not act quickly enough

A Rotherham councillor has admitted the council did not act "quickly enough" to tackle child sexual exploitation in the South Yorkshire town.

Chris Read's comments come after a report published today found the council was "not fit for purpose", forcing the resignations of its entire cabinet.

Since the publication of the Jay Report, the council has begun to take measures to improve the support for victims. bringing in new management, and to tighten licencing controls.

Sadly, as the report today makes clear, we have not been able to do enough, quickly enough.

– Councillor Chris Read
  1. Penny Marshall

Rotherham abuse victim: 'I feel safer but not safe enough'

When I spoke to one of the Rotherham abuse victims this evening I asked whether she felt any safer now after today's developments.

She replied: "Safer, but not safe enough".

Six Whitehall-appointed commissioners will come to Rotherham to effectively run the council.

Westminster expect there to be local elections in 2016 when the people of this town will be given a chance to elect people they trust.

But this affair is far from over - the National Crime Agency has said today there may be grounds for criminal investigations, possibly against a police officer and two councillors.

Rotherham Council 'recognises need for a fresh start'

Rotherham Council says it needs time to "understand and respond" to today's damning report, as well as the "implications" of its cabinet's resignation and the intervention package proposed by Eric Pickles.

In a statement, a spokesman for the council said: “We recognise the need for a fresh start that is so clearly identified in the report, but also appreciate that we need to continue to deliver services to the people of Rotherham, and ensure business continuity.

“We should not forget that the publication of this report will re-open old wounds for the victims and survivors of CSE. We will continue to put in place the help and support they need at this difficult time, including our dedicated helpline.”


Rotherham Council leader resigns after critical report

Paul Lakin pictured at a meeting of the council's cabinet in September. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Paul Lakin, leader of Rotherham Borough Council has resigned with immediate effect.

Cllr Lakin - who only took on the top role last year - will also stand down as local councillor for Rotherham's Valley Ward, the council said in a statement.

The rest of the cabinet are due to resign their positions "as soon as transitional arrangements are put in place", according to an earelier statement.

Rotherham report: Ex-PCC 'refused to be interviewed'

Shaun Wright resigned in September after public anger about the abuse scandal. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

South Yorkshire's former Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright refused to be interviewed as part of an inspection of the borough's council, the author of today's damning inspection report said.

Wright - who had been a councillor in the town and responsible for children's services - resigned in the wake of a previous report by Professor Alexis Jay, which claimed that more than 1,400 children had been abused in the area between 1997 and 2013.

The council's former leader Roger Stone also declined an invitation for interview.

Despite other resignations in the wake of that report - such as that of chief executive Martin Kimber and director of children's services, Joyce Thaker - Louise Casey's more recent inspection found a continued denial of any wrongdoing among current council leaders.

When inspectors commenced work in Rotherham, we were struck by the overwhelming denial of what Professor Jay set out in her report. This attitude was so prevalent that we had to go back through many of the aspects of her work in order to satisfy ourselves that the council had no grounds upon which further action could be delayed.

– Louise Casey

Casey added: "When asked, 70% of the current Rotherham councillors we spoke to (including those in the Cabinet) disputed Professor Jay's findings."

Rotherham report 'contains potentially criminal matters'

The National Crime Agency today said there were "a number of potentially criminal matters" identified in Louise Casey's report into Rotherham Council.

In a statement on its website, the NCA said: "Communities and Local Government Minister Eric Pickles today informed Parliament of the outcome of an inspection conducted by a team led by Louise Casey. A number of matters have been referred to Operation Stovewood as they potentially fall within its terms of reference.

"It would not be appropriate to comment in detail about the matters referred until investigators have an opportunity to analyse the information, which they will do as part of phase one of the investigation.

"The NCA can confirm that the matters referred are allegations of potential criminal behaviour. Operation Stovewood is not investigating any misconduct matters."

Pickles proposes intervention in Rotherham Council

Rotherham Council is currently incapable of dealing with its problems "without substantial intervention", Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said.

Speaking to MPs in Westminster, Pickles proposed government-appointed commissioners to deal with issues where the authority is currently failing.

He also called for an all-out election at the council in 2016.

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