My initial intent in reviewing the report into the theft of the Risky Business files was simply to judge whether the executive summary was faithful to the body of the text. My assumption was that the text would at least contain an accurate summary of all relevant information available from the public record. It turned out this assumption was over-optimimistic.
Thus, for example, the report anonymised all of the key players in the story even though several of them could be easily identified. A few minutes of research is sufficient to establish that Individual A is Jayne Senior, F is Adele Gladman, C is Christine Broadhurst-Brown, D Kerry Byrne and B the Janitor.
In addition I was able to establish from reliable private sources that the report’s assertions cannot necessarily be trusted. So for example at 3.5 “Individual F and Individual A now accept the conversations they recall having with Individual B must have been about another occasion, and not about any activity occurring around the building immediately prior to any removal of the files” This statement I have established to be false. It is unclear whether this significant alteration of the record was the result of incompetence on the part of the authors or an attempt to deceive. In either case RMBC would seem due at least a partial rebate for the shoddiness of the work.
The authors made no attempt to apply the standard methodology of narrowing down the suspect list by asking who had means, opportunity and motive. Re means only a very few had keys. We can rule out that Gladman and Senior raided their own office as they did not have opportunity in the form of access to the surrounding grounds and building during the relevant time period. Neither would they have any conceivable motive for such bizarre behaviour.
That leaves two with both means and opportunity, the janitor and RMBC manager Kerry Byrne. The janitor can be ruled out both for lack of evident motive and also because (though he now denies his former testimony) it was he who first reported suspicious goings on to Gladman and Senior. Kerry Byrne alone had means motive and opportunity. The obvious motive being to cover up the gross failings that allowed children to be gang raped and tortured under the noses of RMBC management. Others above Byrne in the council hierarchy such as Pam Allen shared this motive, consistent with the janitor’s original testimony that a group of people had been involved in the unusual comings and goings. Christine Broadhurst Brown who received promotion in the immediate aftermath of the theft and who ruled that it shouldn’t be reported to the police could also have had motive to assist in the form of a promised promotion.
Had an honest investigator applied this standard three pronged methodology I suspect the report would have concluded roughly as follows: “We recommend that this report be passed to South Yorkshire police and the National Crime Agency with a request that they open an investigation into the 2002 theft of the Risky Business files. We would suggest that they might productively interview the following persons under caution: The Janitor, Kerry Byrne, Christine Broadhurst Brown and Pam Allen. We would also invite them to offer immunity from prosecution to at least the first of these who is willing to testify against another party or parties.”
Overview, or the spin.
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)
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)
Webcast of meeting: https://rotherham.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/304994
Now available to watch any time using the link above.
Readers may wish to refer to the Jay and Casey Reports, which are referred to in the above reports and much mention was made of them during the course of Wednesday’s meeting.
Click on the images below to read them yourself: