Child abuse ‘whitewash’ as Rotherham council chiefs escape blame

Child abuse ‘whitewash’ as Rotherham council chiefs escape blame

Sarah Champion, the South Yorkshire town’s MP, called the reports a “wasted opportunity”
Sarah Champion, the South Yorkshire town’s MP, called the reports a “wasted opportunity”Getty Images

New inquiries into the Rotherham child abuse scandal were criticised last night after they failed to recommend disciplinary action against any of the council’s former senior executives.

Sarah Champion, the South Yorkshire town’s MP, labelled the reports a “wasted opportunity”, while a young woman who as a child fell victim to multiple sex offences condemned the findings as a whitewash.

Six independent investigations were commissioned by the local authority, at a cost of £440,000, after the 2014 Jay report, which revealed that 1,400 girls from the town were targeted for abuse, including rape and sex trafficking, from 1997 to 2013.

The lead inquiry was asked to investigate the “performance and conduct” of senior employees in those years, to determine whether there were grounds for disciplinary proceedings against any present or former staff.

Its finding was that the council’s “shameful” response to child sexual exploitation was the product of “multiple and systemic failures” but was “not the responsibility or fault” of any one person.

Mark Greenburgh, from the law firm that conducted the inquiry, said that although some senior managers “let down the children, the council and themselves”, no one “deliberately turned a blind eye to child sexual exploitation in Rotherham”.

There was also, he said, no evidence of an orchestrated cover-up. It was “more cock-up than conspiracy”.

Ms Champion, a vocal campaigner for the victims of sexual exploitation, said that the reports failed to “draw a line under the catalogue of errors that led to our children being let down so badly by those supposed to protect them”.

She added: “Despite these huge failures, it appears that no individual at the council has been held to account. How is Rotherham meant to have confidence this will never happen again unless we know what went wrong?”

Ms Champion, who was until last month Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary, was forced to resign after she wrote in an article for The Sun that Britain “has a problem with British Pakistani men raping and exploiting white girls”.

Yesterday’s inquiry reports noted that frontline staff attempting to raise concerns about groups of men targeting white teenagers for abuse faced “cultural barriers” due to “over-sensitivity and caution” within the council about “acknowledging the race and ethnicity of the perpetrators”.

Mr Greenburgh said that his investigation was hampered by the “disappointing” refusal of some former senior officers and Labour councillors “to engage with the process”.

Among those who declined to be interviewed were Roger Stone, former council leader, and Shaun Wright, cabinet member with responsibility for children’s services from 2005 to 2010. He resigned as South Yorkshire’s crime commissioner after the Jay report was published.

Chris Read, who became council leader after the scandal triggered the resignation of Rotherham’s Labour cabinet in early 2015, said that the inquiry’s failure to recommend disciplinary action against anyone was not “easy to swallow”.

Mr Reed said that those who refused to cooperate with the investigation, “including former Labour members” should be made to realise that “our survivors deserved far better”.

Ged Fitzgerald, the council’s chief executive from 2000 to 2003, also turned down an interview. The report said that had he taken “a more rigorous approach” when he became aware of sex-grooming concerns in 2001, “the response by the council might have been very different”.


The Reports:

Overview, or the spin.

Read it here:

Investigation into the Performance, Practice and Conduct of Senior Employees of the Council over the period of the Jay Report (1997-2013) and further highlighted in the Corporate Governance Inspection report made by Louise Casey (February 2015) (Gowling Solicitors)

Executive Summary:

Full Report:

Independent Investigation – Review of Cases A to O referred to in the Jay Report (Independent Consultant)


Audit Investigation into the Alleged Removal of Files and Impairment of Computer Records – April 2002


Audit Investigation into Missing Minutes from Meetings of the Key Players’ Group – Late 1990s to 2003/04


Audit Investigation – Theft of 21 Laptops from Norfolk House, Rotherham: 26th October 2011 – Review of the Council’s Response


Report into Rotherham Taxi Licensing and Enforcement Service – 2010 to the Present (Weightmans LLP)

Executive Summary:



Webcast of meeting:

20 thoughts on “Child abuse ‘whitewash’ as Rotherham council chiefs escape blame

  1. Disgusting but predictable outcome.

    The victims continue to get no justice.

    Squandered almost £500k on bogus, worthless sham reports to cover up and whitewash again.

    The officers and cllrs have colluded and covered up. They show no remorse for their failures and incompetence.

    No one has integrity or guts to stand up and be counted.

    They are a stain on the party, our town and decency.


  2. Having attended the three and a half hour meeting it was obvious that the whole thing was to get the council off the hook and undermine Jay and Casey. No one is to blame seems to have been the mantra of the day. It is a complete and utter useless exercise, it is a white wash and is what we have come to expect from Rotherham.
    Dave Smith


  3. Suggestion to Government and their austerity measures carried out by council

    Why should the public pay for the councils failures, gross negligence towards the victims and the coverup and collusion.
    It should not impact further on the cuts to services and jobs?
    The cllrs past and present from the period should be forced to pay for all the inquiries and investigations from their own pockets rather than council tax payers and service users.
    That may focus their minds?


  4. Shouldn’t the crime prosecution service being taking action against any in the council or sypolice who covered this up. As far as I know only 8 have been convicted for the abuse of 1400 girls multiple times, the figure must run into 100’s if not 1000’s of perpetrators. It’s a total white wash.


  5. Did I miss something ?…..what became of the report that I read somewhere (cannot remember where I read it) about abuse that took place in the Prince of Wales pub Masbrough which a victim claimed a well known Cllr was in the room when abuse took place ….was there a follow up to this claim ? were any Cllrs questioned ? ….grateful for any follow up info ..links etc.


    • Is there a list of all the officers and cllrs who refused to be interviewed or is that part of the whitewash too???

      Our other 2 sheepish MPs are still claiming their cllrs and police never told them owt at their many meetings, briefings or soirees! Explains the silence!


    • What about the 3 men that walked free from operation central in 2010 they was either related or very closely connected to Cllrs the mayor n his wife. And someone close to 2 other perps was either a Cllr or campaigned to be one not labour though.It was posted on here a few years ago, that’s prob never been looked into and never will ,


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  7. You can not make it up.
    Lets not forget that MPs and many cllrs and their flunkies still promoted and pushed shaun pinochio wright as labours pcc.

    Even though he kept the lid on the cse rapes and abuse on his watch.

    Was that part of ploy to keep things under wraps. It certainly wrecks their judgement.


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