Ministers set to end Rotherham intervention

23 Jul 18

The government today announced it was minded to end its intervention at Rotherham council, three years after commissioners were first sent in.

Concerns about child sexual exploitation in the south Yorkshire metropolitan authority were flagged in investigations conducted by Alexis Jay and Louise Casey.

This prompted local government and education ministers to dispatch commissioners in February 2015. The team, initially led by Sir Derek Myers and subsequently by Mary Ney, took over all executive and some non-executive functions and take forward an improvement programme.

Announcing the likely end of the intervention today, communities secretary James Brokenshire said: “The council has made strong progress and, having carefully considered evidence provided by our commissioners, I am minded to return all powers.

“This is not a decision I take lightly, but I am assured the council has turned itself around and is now providing the services that its residents deserve and expect.”

Withdrawal of the commissioners is conditional on the council receiving an independent review by March 2019. This would be a “last check” on the council’s performance after the departure of the commissioners.

Powers have gradually been returned to the council on four separate occasions: in February 2016, December 2016, March 2017 and September 2017.

In January this year, Ofsted inspectors rated Rotherham’s children’s services as “good”.

Children’s minister Nadhim Zahawi said he was pleased by the “vast improvement” in the council’s performance.

“In…cases [of failing children’s services] the government will not hesitate to intervene and support improvements but it is down to strong leadership and the hard work of staff at Rotherham that they have been able to turn services around,” he said.

Rotherham now has four weeks to make representations on the proposals before Brokenshire makes a final decision.

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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