I’m going to analyse this review in chunks, making It easier be clear to readers. Other pieces will appear over the next week.
Let us start with some of the Basics
#The report emphasises, in keeping with most experts, that best practice lies in cooperation and partnership between agencies, especially the Police & Social Services.
It’s thereby ironic, farcical is a better term, that Barnardo’s report was written without reference to the study “South Yorkshire Police’s Response to Child Sexual Exploitation” by Her Majesties Inspectorate of Constabulary(HMIC).
Given that the Police must form at least 20% of a good protection and prevention plan not aligning them is a chronic waste of public money, and the timescales offer no excuse as they were all in town at the same time.
So why did Barnardo’s not speak to HMIC or at least refer to the findings of HMIC? Maybe HMIC were too blunt for th Council?
Or maybe SYP/Social Services in their interviews, in the spirit of cooperation forgot to tell them about HMIC?
Whatever, try reading them both & you will discover that HMIC’s frankness undermines aspects than Barnardo’s (more in later articles) and remove what little optimism we can garner from it.
#The Review’s Front Cover states “The report is confidential to both parties as set out in the attached non-disclosure agreement. Any external use by either party can only be agreed by following the obligations of this agreement”
So let’s be clear, nothing went in this report without the Councils approval. It is not an independent report, and that opening statement is one of the most controlling I have read. Given that it could have been hidden in the original contract, its appearance in large print suggests paranoia.
Despite these constraints it is reasonable to say that this study does not find the current systems in Rotherham to be good. There are hints at some serious weaknesses. It makes ridiculous an earlier assertion by the Council that the systems have been fine since 2009.
# The review is described as primarily a desk-top study, that is no victims, victims’ families, perpetrators, or case examples were looked at, even from the recent past. It was an assessment of process and the compliance of Rotherham’s systems with good practice process. .
Finally for now, another thing one learns from Barnard’s reports is that investigative journalism in South Yorkshire appears reduced to re-hashing press releases.
Reference: Those Recent Reports A Must Read – In Full