Rotherham Council commissioners ‘not making a difference’ to child safety

Rotherham Council commissioners ‘not making a difference’ to child safety

The commissioners brought in to run Rotherham Council have not made a difference to child protection, the town’s Labour MP has claimed.

Sarah Champion’s comments follow the closure of a children’s home in October following a critical Ofsted inspection.

It found youths at Woodview Children’s Home were not “kept safe”. Another home in the town was also deemed inadequate.

The government said the commissioners, appointed after a damning report into child abuse, were making “progress”.

The Woodview review found young people were poorly assessed and risks of them being exposed to child sexual exploitation were not always recognised.

Read on… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-34831095

5 live Investigates.. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06p0x3x

56 thoughts on “Rotherham Council commissioners ‘not making a difference’ to child safety

  1. NO institution will make any difference whatsoever unless and until the following is completed:
    – ALL errant police during the period of abuse are removed from SYP – including the current senior police who have failed to lead progress over the past two years
    – ALL present and past council officers in culpable positions and who failed are held to account ( not transferred to lucrative jobs elsewhere ) – including senior officers who may be elected members in a neigbouring borough
    – ALL present and past elected elected members in respective positions of authority and who failed are held to account – including those regional party administrators who put political pragmatism, damage limitation ( thanks to the author for the quote) and personal considerations above the welfare of children and contrary to law
    – ALL Common Purpose graduates / members / associates / sponsors / supporters are removed from any position of influence, interest or control
    – the local media outlets disclose what they were told, and when, and why they did not publicise at the time
    – the local and historical MPs during the period of abuse declare full details of what they had been told, nd why they did nothing
    Please note that there are some people who tick several of the boxes above.
    The Commissioners, notwithstanding any other factor, will continue to be dysfunctional whilst ever the current culture prevails, which will continue in the absence of the indicated outside interventions.
    This side of the M1, there is also CSE, and as is now being exposed, the abuse that is being covered up includes the repeated and systematic abuse of vulnerable women when to do so has a political sponsor, reports for which are also buried, ignored by the police, shunned by local media, and the whistleblowers dismissed.
    These pages are an invaluable service for the decent people of Rotherham and the region.
    What solutions can other genuinely concerned citizens propose?

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      • She was missing the limelight, I was wondering how long it would take for this bimbo to open her mouth and say something stupid, so she had to criticise the people brought in sort this mess out and not the ones who cause it. Funny now she talking about accountability, well what about herself, previous MP, Barron and Healey, Councillors and the Labour Party and Government from 1997 – 2010. If these popeple had done their job, you wouldn’t be in this situation and thousands of little white girls would’ve have been abused by your friends the Pakistani’s.

        Does she still remember that conference, she and the other MPs held with that motely crew from the Pakistan’s communtiy finest about Palestine, what about the suffering of her constituents children.

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    • What constitutes a ‘Common Purpose graduate’ and what about them makes them unfit for senior roles in either the private or public sector?

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    • “– including senior officers who may be elected members in a neigbouring borough”

      Which officers? surely if they are senior in Rotherham they wouldn’t have time to spare to be a Councillor elsewhere

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  2. Amazing who will latch onto any opportunity to hold the town back even when views are vented by someone with zero experience in the delivery of major services. Look how quickly people will sell their souls on here. Watch…

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  3. Contacted them about the litter issue in Dinnington. All it sounded as though they had done was put their signature to a letter written by the leader of the council. When I suggested their reply had been disappointing and I expected a fresh injection of ideas; it went silent. More academical people, with little clue how the real world works. We need people with common sense, not more of the so called high achievers.

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  4. Seems like our Sarah is narked at being left out of the loop. After all her grandstanding and photo opportunities, on this subject. What was it, we must do better, a new dawn and all that BS. She finding out things will always be the same, so she slagging off the commissioner’s, claiming were not getting value for the £17 million being spent in Children’s services. What’s is her portfolio , Shadow Minister for Abuse. Surely she should be able to sought things out?

    But if they can’t run the children’s properly, it begs the question. There setting up a three million abuse centre in Rotheham for South Yorkshire. Will that be a waste of money too?

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  5. Maybe people should listen to the interview : it starts circa 37 minutes 30 seconds into the broadcast at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06p0x3x .

    ___________
    anonymous asks ” what about[Common Purpose graduates] makes them unfit for senior roles in either the private or public sector?”
    Answer: Nothing.
    But I can accept that in some local authorities etc they can become a self-serving clique, just as the Freemasons are – particularly in some UK Police Forces, or as “The Italians” are in some international organisations – eg the UN FAO,
    But most of the criticism of Common Purpose comes from those who find conspiracies everywhere – just look at the number of FoIs on them on WhatDoTheyKnow.com .
    I have never had any contact with Common Purpose as an organisation, but I have met some of their graduates working in the Voluntary Sector, and I have many times come up against “The Italians”.

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    • RR, can you elaborate on who these “Italians” are? Do you refer to the Mafia? I assume from the quote marks they are somehow distinguished from common or garden Italians. Or are you just saying Italians stick together more than other nations?
      Apologies to Rothpol if I am wandering off topic.

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      • You are wandering of topic, but it is probably my fault..
        What I was writing about was that some International Organisations such as the UN FAO and the BIS have been top-heavy with totally incompetent people from that one country, in all cases because of one man from that country being in a very senior position. (It may also have applied at the Vatican …)
        I thought you knew your Africa? Have you never read http://www.amazon.co.uk/YEAR-THE-DEATH-AFRICA-Bureaucracy/dp/0586085378 – it covers the FAO aspect*. What happened at the BIS – I know from personal experience.
        IMHO Peter Gill’s book is one of maybe five or six late 20thC books that are essential readings on the Horn and East Africa. I’ll do you a list if you want.

        * (I remember well that during the Ethiopian famine some of the FAO’s Italian Officials never seemed to do anything much except sunbathe by the pool at the Hilton in Addis).

        Always nice to talk to you Giles, and I’d love to know what you are doing currently, but now lets get back to the topic of Rotherham… OK?

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        • Thank you. Interesting. BTW I have never claimed to know Africa, or even Kenya. I know something about the Kalenjin, which is not the same thing. Best Wishes also.

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  6. From a previous post:
    They have all run councils or large organisations successfully for years. Read up.

    It would be so funny if it wasn`t such a serious matter, from what I can see they are no better than the last bunch, only more expensive.

    £800 a day and they couldn’t spot that care homes in Rotherham continued to pose a risk to vulnerable children, the it takes time to address historical failings mantra does not wash.

    They have been in post long enough to get their sleeves rolled up and start earning their bloated salaries.

    While ever the great un-washed of Rotherham continue to doff their hats and tug their forelocks to these over paid under performing snouts in the civic trough commissioners expect more of the same.

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      • They want 800 pound a day
        3 million a year for riverside building a year
        Nhs screwed
        Property prices worst on country
        No taxi service
        No investment
        Coverup
        This is Rotherham for you.

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    • It does wash. Doncaster; Slough; Birmingham; Sandwell. Cumbria. All examples of very poor children’s services, found inadequate in 2010/11/12 and still are to this day. Commissioners have been in control 8 months! Sarah Champion barks and we all follow her lead like sheep. Amazing talent she has!!!!!!!!!

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  7. So Anons argument is 1. Child safety hasn’t improved in several other places, therefore 2. It’s untrue to say that it hasn’t improved in Rotherham since the Commissioners were appointed. Maybe we should make logic classes compulsory in schools.
    What Sarah has said is just a statement of the fact established by official inspections. However she knows much that is not yet in the public domain about past and ongoing misconduct in public office. I suspect this knowledge is informing her comments about the state of child services. If you think all the rotten apples have been fished out of that barrel, dream on!

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    • No Giles. It’s the context which is important. Their job has just started. Two homes are a small part of a big service and my point is they’ve not had a chance to fix a service which Jay said has been broken for years. I suspect the opposite – that SC has very little knowledge of how the service operates actually and Grandstands whenever there is an opportunity. This is the same woman who stood up in the house of commons and applauded Pickles for intervening and appointing Commissioners! I for one will not be wasting anymore time on this thread on principle!

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      • I never suggested the Commissioners were to blame. Nor am I uncritical of Sarah Champion. However I can tell you not only Sarah but various journalists know a great deal about who is to blame for the still continuing cover up that they can’t go public with due to the credible fears of sources who are not yet willing to go on the record. Believe it or not as you will. I’m not going to betray my own sources.

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  8. Look let’s all agree one thing, it must be better than it was before. However it should be even better than by now. This particular service has had massive investment in resources, personnel and expertise. So every aspect of looking after children, should be world class and surpassed by no other, around the country, if not the world.

    If the staff weren’t following correct procedures then it was down to poor training or neglect on their part, then they should be sanction or even fired. If they haven’t been trained properly or supervise , that down to management and they should suffer. But if the people supervising the managements, the commissioners aren’t scrutinising their work and ensuring that they perform, that they need to go. If the service is not performing then all are to blame, not just the staff at the lower end.

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    • Hi. Whilst much of what you say is valid, where I disagree is your assertion that £ = immediate wholesale success. If that were the case there wouldn’t be any inadequate services for long periods of time such as the councils cited above. And there are many more. Professor Jay uncovered over 10 years of failure in children’s services and Casey found that the whole council was shot. This means that there are deep seated cultural issues in this council, which I’m afraid will take years to fully address.

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      • I do not agree, if you have a old car, which continually breaks down and is expensive to run and will never improve, would you carry on or get a new one. The same situation in regards to Childrens Services. They knew it was broke and the people running it was not up to the job. You access where you are, where you want to be, what is needed and more importantly , what kind of staff you need. You then clear it out from top to bottom. Train the staff properly and make sure everybody knows their roles and their responabilties.

        The staff do their job, the mangers do their job and the managers managers scruntiize everything and supervise. Every procedure and contingency would have been tested and review and amendments made. Surely within a year they should be getting it right.

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  9. As to what I am currently doing, the answer is that I am working with others to gather information that I hope will lead to convictions of various serving or former public officials. It’s frustrating as a lot of information comes in but very little can be used until sources are willing to testify. But I hope to have two or three more decades of life and as long as I see the leading actors in jail before I die, I will die happy.

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    • … and you will have made me happy to!

      ” I know something about the Kalenjin, which is not the same thing.”
      I agree, but in some ways it’s better – at least that way you will have learnt a consistent history.
      The first non-South Asian-diaspora Kenyan I ever met was a Maasii moran. I had Sabarbi as a house guest here in UK for many months back in the mid 1970’s, and I still feel more at ease/at home with the Maasii and the Samburu than I do with any other of the Kenyan peoples.

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      • Thank you. I’m off to Kenya next year but it will probably be for just a month. I have made a commitment to Rotherham, otherwise I might have moved there. Best Wishes.

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  10. With the bar of public expectation set so low that a snake would have difficulty in slithering underneath it is it no wonder that the £800/day commissioners are laughing all the way to the bank.

    It is time the public stopped showing difference to highly paid commissioners and demand that the pace of change and improvement is accelerated to the point where children in Rotherham are protected not only from criminals but lazy out of touch commissioners.

    If after eight months the commissioners are unable to show demonstrable progress then they should go.

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    • Love the image of the snake trying to slither beneath the bar! I dont know how far the Commissioners are to blame. My objection to the Commissioners is that they have the chutzpah to want to ban demonstrations despite the continuing documented failures of RMBC and SYP. At a minimum they should show us they are doing their jobs before abolishing our democratic right to hold them to account.

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  11. What is wrong with RMBC is the IQ of the “average councillor”. At risk of giving my Id away I worked in this organisation for 32 years and knew several councillors from schooldays and early adulthood. The main part of my job involved investigating criminal offences during which I occasionally came across strange behaviour involving ” full on
    criminality. In the early 1990s I was attacked and badly injured by someone I was “looking at” closely. When this was discussed at a Council meeting the then leader was heard to say and I quote ” he must have been shagging somebody’s wife and got caught” !! I refer of course to the late Cllr %%% L£££on” the Leader at this time What has not changed is the intelligence of persons standing for office. I am not a class warrior but surely in this day and age the electorate cannot still follow the ideas of their fathers and grandfathers and not simply follow their example. For Gods sake think before you vote otherwise our delightful Commissioners will remain with us for many a year !

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    • I cannot agree with you more. What worries me is the fact that at the elections in May the ballot papers for each ward may be like a telephone directory entry!! With all 3 councillors up for election in each ward if every party puts 3 candidates up there could quite easily be up to 20 or more candidates on the list. I know that all political parties of every persuasion have problems finding people willing to stand and struggle to find 21 candidates so to find 63 credible people who actually want the job and are capable is a big ask. I know all parties have used “paper” candidates to fill places in the past where they think they haven’t really got a chance but want to cover every seat but What concerns me is in this election anybody could get elected. When faced with such a list in the polling station it could be a case of eeny meeny miny mo and anybody could win a seat. I really hope that all parties realise this and that any candidates that agree to stand realise that they could actually win. I really don’t want to wake up on a Friday morning in May to discover that 3/4 of the newly elected councillors don’t really want to be there and they were only really making the numbers up. Scrutiny would be back out of the window and we’d have people just sitting there for another 4 years not opening their mouths but just sitting back and taking their money!! So much for a clean sweep!!

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  12. The Commissioners would have us believe that if only demos were banned then RMBC and SYP would do their job. 2 problems. 1 It would cost much more to arrest illegal demonstrators (of whom I would be one, though I have not demonstrated thus far). 2 There’s not a shred of evidence that the council or police would be doing their job if only they were shielded even further from public accountability and a heap of evidence against the claim. How many times do they expect us to fall for the “we have learnt our lessons” line? Jason Harwin was still trying it on File on 4 in response to the police failings (months after the Jay report) that allowed 30 girls to be groomed and one raped by a man they had let go despite having the evidence to hold him.

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  13. Maybe the question should be when did Sarah Champion last set foot in the council to visit staff and services before making sweeping generalised statements to wind everyone up and hold back the town from progressing? Who in there right mind would want to work in Rotherham when there are people such as publicity hungry Champion who profit from a perception of continuing failure? The commissioners six month report can be found here: http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/downloads/download/237/commissioners_six_month_progress_review

    …and progress triangulated by the most important voices. Those who have suffered over many years.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-3400264

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    • It has been often said that perception is everything. If Rotherham council keeps getting bad reports from these outside scrutinising agency, then no matter what anyone from within this council says , nobody in the there right mind is going to believe them. Remember this council has a history of not only failure and total incompetence, but also one of covering up bad news.

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  14. Sarah Champion is just scoring political points out of this like thr hypocrite she is when i bring scrutiny and challenge to Others they soon go on the difensive saying we are making political gain
    As our MP what is she going to do about it she has the ear of Cameron if her election campaign is to be believed
    Let’s be quite clear it was her party that caused all this and they are still in the majority
    Children’s services in Rotherham was in a total mess and needs rebuilding it was for years underfunded and now needs a. Major overhaul this cost money lots of money to put right
    Rotherham like all other councils are facing major cuts from the government this added to the extra burden of rebuilding a broken council
    So Sarah stop trying to gain the lime light use the influence you have with Dave to give Rotherham the Funds to rebuild what your party distroyed
    It’s still the innocent who are paying for this mess

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    • I have to admit one of my several criticisms of Sarah is that she lent her name to the outrageous libel suit that you have been slapped with. Astonishing that these MPs think their hurt feelings are worth more than most survivors will see in compensation. But the reason I praise her also is that she has done something (not least appointing Jayne Senior) compared to the nothing done by Barron or Healey. Still, I don’t think she should get a penny of your money.
      Incidentally I tried to show solidarity when the suit was launched by inviting John Healey to sue me also. But he sent me such a meek email, virtually begging me to retract that I felt sorry for him and took the article down. However if he gets some outrageous sum in compensation and doesn’t immediately donate it to the survivors I may be forced to think again.

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      • I think Caven Vines is spot on. Champion knows nothing…full stop. She exists to profit from repeated failure for her own gain and people fall for it every time. It’s disappointing how many on here apparently fail to see it. Whilst she profits from grandstanding, our town is being held back from recovery. There will be no investment, no jobs and people brought in to turn the council around won’t be here for long and neither will their successors and even their successors, whilst she continues to behave in such a duplicitous way. But then, why should she care when she doesn’t even live here?

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    • Don’t you have an interest you need to declare?

      I seem to remember a report that you had to pay damages and legal costs. Perhaps you could tell us whether they’ve been paid……. and by whom.

      Further, don’t you think that it’s a bit rich for you to comment about the failure of others to answer your questions when you know that you have consistently failed to answer questions from me?

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  15. I apologise for my error in mis-recollecting that Cllr Vines had defamed Ms Champion as well as Messrs Barron and Healey. So, there is no direct interest to declare, but clearly an interest which should have been disclosed.

    And, in the interests of transparency, surely Cllr Vines ought to bring us all up to date about these proceedings……… after all, it is some 6 months ago when he posted his ‘Hands up. I’m guilty, gov” statement.

    And, just going back to that thread, I discovered that someone had suggested that I was in New Zealand. For the record, I’ve never been, but would love to go there for a holiday. Donations welcome, thank you.

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    • ” So, there is no direct interest to declare, but clearly an interest which should have been disclosed.”

      ?????? Clear as mud. Could you explain what you mean please Janet?

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      • This is Councillor Vines we are talking about. As I understand the expectations and appropriate action to be taken by a Councillor if this debate was taking place in a council or committee meeting………….

        ……….if Councillor Vines was still in the course of legal proceedings which involved Ms Champion, he would almost certainly have been advised that he should declare an interest and not take part in the proceedings.

        ………if Councillor Vines is still in the course of legal proceedings (as seems to be suggested above) with Rotherham’s other MPs who are colleagues of Ms Champion – but not Ms Champion herself – I understand he would have been advised that, at the very least, he should declare that, even if it did not necessarily participating in the debate.

        I think any ordinary citizen would perceive that, in the existence of those proceedings, there was a likely prejudicial interest which ought to be disclosed.

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      • “This is Councillor Vines we are talking about. ”

        I see, so special rules apply then?

        “……….if Councillor Vines was still in the course of legal proceedings which involved Ms Champion, he would almost certainly have been advised that he should declare an interest and not take part in the proceedings.”

        He isn’t so he didn’t.

        “………if Councillor Vines is still in the course of legal proceedings (as seems to be suggested above) with Rotherham’s other MPs who are colleagues of Ms Champion – but not Ms Champion herself – I understand he would have been advised that, at the very least, he should declare that, even if it did not necessarily participating in the debate”

        Why? This isn’t the hustings, it’s a public blog where people are allowed to express their opinions. And in any case, how is the court case between Cllr Vines and two of our MPs over what they knew about CSE in the town relevant to a discussion about the Commissioners not making a difference to child safety?

        Someone has an axe to grind, methinks.

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        • You misunderstand me. As far as I am aware, both the cases of Jane Collins and Caven Vines are linked when it comes to detail, so I am reluctant to publish anything that might interfere with these cases.

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  16. Caven,
    I think that your saying that Sarah Champion MP has the ear of David Cameron is more than a little unfair, and certainly not a true representation of the facts.

    As I recollect she was once invited to Downing Street for a Cameron photo op – aimed at showing that He was doing something about CSE.

    The only people that can lever more money for Rotherham Childrens Services are the Commissioners with the support of / and pressure from the Borough Councillors, of which you are one.
    If you believe that money is the problem, and I have no reason to doubt you, then make the case to the Commissioners!

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  17. The Lead Commissioner Sir Derek Myers recently sent a letter to all Parish Councils stating he cannot set the Budget, he has no legal power to do so. So if he cannot make decisions to allocate monies to the Children`s Services, then its over to our illustrious Leader Cllr Read to step up to the mark. As a massive publicity stunt, he could tell the good people of Rotherham that he is going to allocate the remaining 50% of the money that the cabinet are due to get, to children`s services. They keep telling us they have changed and are now listening (noses growing bigger as we speak)

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