Rotherham Child Abuse: Council Managers Now in Senior Posts Elsewhere After Escaping Disciplinary Measures
Gordon Rayner, Telegraph (London), August 26, 2014
Managers who failed to protect 1,400 children from sexual abuse in Rotherham are now working in senior posts at other councils after escaping disciplinary action.
A report into the abuse scandal does not name any of the culpable managers, meaning they are unlikely to face questions from their current employers over their “blatant” failings in the past.
Martin Kimber, chief executive of Rotherham Council, urged the anonymous managers to “take responsibility” for their actions, whilst admitting there was not enough evidence to refer any one person to a professional disciplinary body.
Mr Kimber suggested the current employers of former senior managers at Rotherham Council should study the report carefully to decide whether they should take any action, without saying how they would identify the unnamed parties.
He said: “I cannot find anything that is sufficiently explicit about any single individual to make any professional practice referral. If I felt that that report did contain such information then you can take it from me that I would have no hesitation in either making that referral or making a recommendation to the council to take action.
“What I have said is that there are people still in professional practice today who were working for Rotherham during the critical periods and it’s really important that their current employers read this report for their own judgments as to their particular role at that time.”
Questioned repeatedly about why nobody had faced disciplinary action, he said: “I think it is extremely important that people take responsibility and are accountable for their decisions.”
A report into child abuse in the Rotherham area found that 1,400 children were sexually abused over a 16-year period.
The report’s author, Professor Alexis Jay, said failures of the political and professional leadership of Rotherham Council over the first 12 years were “blatant” as the seriousness of the problem was underplayed by senior managers and was not seen as a priority by South Yorkshire Police.
The failures happened despite three reports between 2002 and 2006 “which could not have been clearer in the description of the situation in Rotherham”.
She said the first of these reports was “effectively suppressed” because senior officers did not believe the data. The other two were ignored, the professor said.
The report said: “By far the majority of perpetrators were described as ‘Asian’ by victims.” But “several staff described their nervousness about identifying the ethnic origins of perpetrators for fear of being thought racist”.
In 2010 five men, described by a judge as “sexual predators”, were given lengthy jail terms after they were found guilty of grooming teenage girls for sex in Rotherham. It later emerged that police and child protection agencies in Rotherham had extensive knowledge of what was going on for a decade, but failed to bring prosecutions.
Jane Collins, the Ukip MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “How the chief executive of Rotherham Council, Martin Kimber, can sit there and glibly tell the world that not one person has been sacked, nor disciplined regarding this matter is beyond me. We are talking about children as young as 11 being trafficked, gang raped, beaten, plied with alcohol and drugs, and even threatened with being burned alive. My outrage at these events is simply beyond words.”
She suggested everyone who had been criticised in the report should resign from the current posts as a matter of honour.