Spot the difference!

Meg Munn MP is not one to stand back  on the issue of child exploitation as demonstrated by a visit  to support the work of agencies protecting vulnerable children, where is Cllr  Roger Stone, Martin Kimber,  the three local MPs and  the  local Councillors?

I suppose they have been told by Cllr  Emma Hoddinott not to attend.

I could find only one RMBC Councillor with the visit on his Twitter account, a damming indictment of the lack of concern or interest  from RMBC Councillors.

Cerberus.

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From Meg Munn’s Web Site:

Working to protect children

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Meg Munn MP recently met police and social workers in South Yorkshire to find out about how a new Child Protection Unit is operating. Having worked for over twenty years in child protection before becoming an MP, and currently Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Child Protection, she was naturally interested to explore how they work on this serious issue.

The unit is based at Maltby Police station in Rotherham and has both police officers and social workers based together. They have a specific focus on working with children who are either being sexually exploited or are at risk of exploitation.

Meg said:

“Police and social workers have worked together for many years but developing an integrated service should bring new benefits. I wanted to learn the team’s views on how parliament and government can make a difference to their work. The preventative work being done by the unit is to be welcomed, as is their work to train and support local health and social care professionals.”

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Child Protection recently launched a parliamentary inquiry into the government’s family justice reforms proposed in the Children and Families Bill. To find out more visit: http://www.communitycare.co.uk/Articles/16/07/2012/118381/Inquiry-launched-into-government-family-justice-reforms.htm

http://www.megmunnmp.org.uk/press-view-entry.asp?type=News&id=1237

Only adequate!

Four years on from a damming report into Children Services and months on from attempts to block the publication of a serious case review RMBC are judged in a recent inspection to be providing Children Services that just meets the minimum of requirements.

An unannounced inspection conducted in July 2012 by Ofsted found areas still requiring action.

Two of the many issues in the July report stand out, this one is in relation to the serious case review into the tragic death of Laura Wilson, the very same report RMBC tried to hide on the grounds of maintaining community cohesion.

“The findings from the very recently published serious case review have been effectively shared with team managers but not across the partnership or with social workers, although there are plans to do so. As a result, most practitioners are not yet fully aware of the learning from the review and so have not been able to use it to influence their practice.”

What is concerning about this point is that for whatever reason, incompetence, do not care, not my kids, not a priority for Cllr Stone, Martin Kimber, Cllr Wright and Cllr Lakin, frontline staff, Social Workers and NHS staff the very ones interacting with vulnerable children and families have not been made aware of the report’s findings so are unable to translate the recommendations into practice.

Or could this be a result of the involvement of Cllr Hoddinott putting a gag on anything to do with child exploitation, grooming and the report?

The second significant finding relates to the case load of Social Workers.

“However, case loads in some teams and for some workers are too high and this impacts on their ability to progress lower priority work (which includes children with significant needs and vulnerabilities), work reflectively and attend to their own professional development”

In each and every case involving the abuse and death of a child, e.g.  Baby P case there is always a direct link to the unmanageable caseload of Social Workers, Cllr Stone, Martin Kimber, Cllr Wright and Cllr Lakin know this and have failed to address the matter, compounding the gravity of this situation is that the rest of the Labour Group know that there is a direct correlation between a high caseload and the abuse and death of a child.

The inspection in 2009 found the children’s department then headed by Cllr Shaun Wright to have serious problems; the problems and mess left by Cllr Shaun Wright were so deep rooted that four years on the service has not moved beyond adequate, it seems that there is a long way to go if Children Services now headed by Cllr Paul Lakin are to improve.

Who is responsible and accountable for failing to provide Rotherham with outstanding children services and who is responsible and accountable for failing to inform the public on how to protect their children from individuals and gangs intent on grooming vulnerable children?

The list includes.

Leader of the Council Cllr Roger Stone, Cllr Stone has the authority to make changes, focus on the issues and make a real difference, instead what we get is serial junketing, a couldn’t care less attitude and a block on anyone trying to discuss the issue of grooming with the public.

Chief Executive Martin Kimber, fully supportive of Cllr Stone and his stance, Mr Kimber sits back while under pressure Social Workers struggle to manage their caseloads, what can we expect from someone who is only marking time until his golden goodbye.

Cllr Shaun Wright, the previous portfolio lead for Children Services who allowed children to be put at serious risk of harm and neglect, he now has the audacity to stand for PCC. His public silence on the issue of grooming is deafening, I can`t wait to see how he defends his position with the media when the time comes, it will be a big vote loser.

Cllr Paul Lakin, current cabinet lead for Children Services is already starting to raise concerns, he does not seem to be on top of his brief, lacks gravitas and is prepared to allow parents to be kept in the dark on the signs of grooming and what they can do to prevent it.

Cllr Emma Hoddinott, this is possibly the most unpleasant aspect. Cllr Hoddinott ran straight to Cllr Stone to tell tales  about her colleagues speaking out about grooming, she has now gagged any public debate on the issue. There will be another serious grooming incident involving a child in Rotherham and Cllr Hoddiniott will have some explaining to do on why she stopped the public being briefed.

The gang of four are not alone; we still have the silence of the lambs:

Astbury, Dalton, Andrews, Donaldson, Ellis, Beaumont, Clark, Burton, Godfrey, Falvey, Hamilton, Johnston, Lelliott, Pitchley, Russell(x2), McNeeley, Whysall, Havenhand, Sims and Rushforth.

Just what will it take for these individuals to speak up for children in Rotherham?

Cerberus.

From the BBC: Barnsley and Rotherham child services told to improve.

From Ofsted: Rotherham Inspection Reports

Rotherham’s Disgrace – The questions begin? FOI 166 – An answer of sorts is received!

Don got his answer:

On Wed, 27/6/12, Corbett, Sarah <Sarah.Corbett@rotherham.gov.uk> wrote:

From: Corbett, Sarah <Sarah.Corbett@rotherham.gov.uk>
Subject: FOI Request 166
To: DON BUXTON
Date: Wednesday, 27 June, 2012, 10:33

Dear Mr Buxton,

I refer to your recent request for information regarding the article in the Star newspaper.  Please note that some of this information is not held by Rotherham MBC.  The information is held by Rotherham Local Childrens Safeguarding Board (LCSB) who operate as a separate legal entity from the Council.  However, the Council will respond on their behalf and I can therefore provide the following information:

1. The total cost of the High Court injunction and any and all of the cost of legal advice and/or opinion given to RMBC from either within or without the organisation, in relation to the Serious Case Review mentioned in the article.

A high court injunction was not obtained.  The cost of the legal advice has not yet been calculated, therefore this information is not held by either the Council or the LSCB.

2. Please provide a specific itemised cost and date breakdown in relation to the legal costs requested in (1) above.

Please see response to (1) above.

In accordance with the procedures of Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC), I am advising you that the cost to the authority in responding to this request has been £30.09 which reflects the staff time and administration costs involved. RMBC however does not currently make any charge to customers for processing Freedom of Information Act requests.

If you are not satisfied with this response you have the right to an internal review by the Council.  Please contact us via the above email address or by post to Sarah Corbett, Information Governance Manager, Legal Services, Riverside House, Main Street , Rotherham , S60 1AE .

If you are not satisfied with the internal review, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner.  Contact details are: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane , Wilmslow, Cheshire . SK9 5AF. Telephone 01625 545700. Alternatively go to http://www.ico.gov.uk/

Yours sincerely,
Sarah Corbett

Information Governance Manager
Information Governance Unit
Legal Services
Resources Directorate

Don Buxton replied thus:

Dear “Corbett, Sarah” <Sarah.Corbett@rotherham.gov.uk>

Thank you for your half-hearted attempt at answering my FOI

1. I will continue to press RMBC on this specific matter until I have been informed what specific legal costs RMBC has incurred as indicated in my original question

2. I also dispute your ridiculous spurious notional cost you attribute to my FOI enquiry and I require you to provide me with an itemised breakdown as to how your organisation has reached this fanciful notion

3. Surely someone at RMBC is “having a larf” when they can’t measure the legal costs that I enquired about, but some civic beancounter can assess my FOI at £30.09

Yours Sincerely,
Donald H. Buxton

Previously: Rotherham’s Disgrace – The questions begin?

Rotherham’s Disgrace – the deafening silence continues

Dear Rotherham Politics Readers,

While the deafening silence continues from Da Leedah and Town Clerk on the continuing problem of child sexual exploitation in our Borough, along comes Ann Coffey MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Runaway and Missing Children and Adults, who has authored a wide-ranging and damning report which highlights the present dangers so well – http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/sites/default/files/tcs/u32/joint_appg_inquiry_-_report…pdf

Family Law Week have produced a worrying, but informative article which explains the background to the report and its recommendations – http://www.familylawweek.co.uk/site.aspx?i=ed98584

And so back to Rovrum and what do we as parents, voters, citizens and taxpayers, get from our well-paid junketing political and civic leedahz, Da Dodger and Rimtan Rembik the Town Clerk?

Zilch, nichts, nien, nyet, non, nahin – nothing at all but – CONTINUED SILENCE.

Wake up, wake up, wake up, you lazy corpulent idling good-for-nothing apologies of highly-paid Elected Members and Officers at Town Hall Towers, the agony of our town’s children continues while you draw your toxic salaries and say and do nothing.

Yours Sincerely,

Grald-Hunter

Rotherham’s Disgrace – Free Advice For The Leader Roger Stone

While contemplating the continuing deafening wall of silence coming from Town Hall Towers on the appalling sexual exploitation and grooming of young women and children which is still manifest among our midst, and the huge vacuum caused by an absent, literally and metaphorically, Leedah, I came across this most relevant and apt piece of advice from the world-renowned business guru, the great Tom Peters.

When I watched it I could not help but reflect on the difference of approaches which Tom advises people to follow when dealing with a problem, which is at total variance to Da Dodger’s “tell em nowt rayt, dunt say owt reight, unless it’s abart Dolly Twin Peaks, right”.

Anyway let Rotherham Politics readers work out for themselves whether Tom’s wise words would prove helpful for the secretive, junketing, highly-paid and ineffective Corn Fed Grunters, Muppets and Clowns at Town Hall Towers.

I offer this link as an active and empowered citizen at no cost to the civic purse and as part of my civic duty as a “highly critical friend” of RMBC Elected Members and Officers.

Yours Sincerely,

Grald-Hunter

Rotherham’s Disgrace – Fresh woe in tomorrows Times

For readers that can get behind the paywall, the rest of us will have to buy the print edition in the morning.

Inquiry launched into sexual abuse of children

Andrew Norfolk and Ruth Maclean

Published 1 minute ago

A parliamentary inquiry into the sexual exploitation of children was announced yesterday after MPs were told that thousands of victims have been identified across the country. The scale of the abuse was revealed as a Commons committee listened to evidence of failings by the police, prosecutors and care professionals that allowed a grooming ring to sexually abuse dozens of girls in Rochdale, Greater Manchester. Nine men, eight of Pakistani heritage and an illegal asylum seeker from Afghanistan, were jailed last month for numerous child-sex offences in the town and surrounding areas. Their trial came after an investigation by The Times into a hidden pattern of group offending against vulnerable girls, usually white and aged from 12 to 16, across northern England and the Midlands. Most of the…

Well spotted by a contributor, Thanks.

Rotherham’s Disgrace – Problem does exist – Official!

Here’s a brave WOMAN who’s prepared to stand-up and make the country and MPs publicly aware that young women are indeed being systematically sexually abused, and by whom.

Note how she clearly refers to the perpetrators, she doesn’t shy away “in the interests of community cohesion”, unlike Rotherham’s “Nelson’s Eye” Elected Members and Officers.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/child-abuse-rife-across-england-135431571.html

And what do we have here in Rotherham? Deafening silence from the civic political leadership and civic professionals paid toxic salaries to ensure the welfare of the town’s women and children – with the exception of Cllr Jahangir Akhtar, who’s been left to stand in the mire while his Corpulent Clown of a Leedah jollies off out of town – AGAIN!!

And still deafening silence from the town’s female Labour Councillors who haven’t yet issued a statement or a promise to take a stand and protect their sisters in the town.

Spotted and brought to you thanks to Grald-Hunter

Rotherham’s Disgrace – RMBC Website concealing more than revealing – Questions asked

COMPLAINT/CONCERN TO THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF RMBC

Dear chiefexecutive@rotherham.gov.uk

As an active and empowered citizen ratepayer and unpaid community volunteer with an interest in scrutinising and challenging the costs and activities of those who seek public office in the well-rewarded capacity of RMBC Elected Members and Officers, I am seeking reassurance that RMBC discharges its legal duties of care in relation to the town’s women and children, particularly in the light of the damning Serious Case Review which RMBC has recently unsuccessfully sought to suppress via a High Court Injunction.

In that regard I have accessed the RMBC website – http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/info/200036/domestic_violence/738/domestic_violence/2 – to peruse the policies, statements, consultations and protocols that exist in relation to safeguarding Rotherham’s women and children.

I am appalled to discover that when accessing the above website, and reading the following: “The Safer Rotherham Partnership (SRP) is pleased to release, for consultation, its Strategy to Eliminate Violence against Women and Girls and welcomes all comments or observations you have before 10th December, 2010” that the “Strategy” link produces the following result:

Sorry, the website http://www.rotherhamrightmix.co.uk cannot be found

I require you to:

1. provide me an explanation for the failure of RMBC’s corporate website to provide the statutory information alluded to, and

2. an explanation of what steps you intend to take to ensure that the statutory information is easily accessible via electronic means.

In order to ensure civic efficiency and preserve the public purse from any unnecessary cost I wish you to deal with this issue as a Concern/Complaint, and NOT as a Freedom of Information Request with your customary spurious notional cost attachments.

Yours Sincerely,

Donald H Buxton

An acknowledgement duly arrives:

— On Tue, 12/6/12, ChiefExecutive <ChiefExecutive@rotherham.gov.uk> wrote:

From: ChiefExecutive <ChiefExecutive@rotherham.gov.uk>
Subject: RE: COMPLAINT/CONCERN TO THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF RMBC
To: “DON BUXTON”
Date: Tuesday, 12 June, 2012, 8:16

Dear Mr Buxton

Thank you for your email.

We will look into the issues you have raised and respond accordingly.

Kind regards
Lesley Hatton
Personal Assistant
Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Rotherham’s Disgrace – The Times Report – Litany of Failure!

From The Times Website of 7th June 2012:

“An official report into the way care agencies dealt with a murdered girl concealed key information about adults suspected of grooming and using her for sex from the age of 11, The Times can reveal today.

Laura Wilson, 17, was repeatedly stabbed then thrown into a South Yorkshire canal in 2010, six years after concerns were raised that she was at risk of being sexually exploited by men.

Details kept secret when a serious case review was published last week can be reported today after a safeguarding board abandoned legal action against The Times. The board had redacted — blocked out with thick black lines — information identifying Laura as one of several girls in Rotherham who were suspected of falling victim to sexual abuse by “Asian men”.

Also kept hidden were details of care professionals’ involvement with Laura from the age of 11 to 15, including meetings that discussed concerns about child sexual exploitation. The board’s application for a High Court injunction to gag The Times was dropped after Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, accused the board of withholding “relevant and important material”.

The redactions, coupled with Rotherham’s attempt to suppress the report in the courts, will lend support to the impression that child sex exploitation is not being confronted robustly by care professionals and local government.

Laura, identified in the report as “Child S”, was murdered in Rotherham by Ashtiaq Asghar, 17. Ishaq Hussain, 21, a married man who made her pregnant a month after her 16th birthday, was found not guilty of murder.

The report, published by Rotherham’s safeguarding children board, found that 15 agencies had had dealings with Laura. It identified “numerous missed opportunities” to protect a vulnerable child who became “almost invisible” to some care professionals.

Redactions were made to 61 of the report’s 144 pages, ostensibly to protect “the privacy and welfare” of the dead girl’s baby. Hidden from view was the fact that Laura “was mentioned” during a 2009 police inquiry that led to the conviction of five British Pakistanis, aged from 20 to 30, for sex offences against three girls aged 13 to 16.

Though the published report said that when Laura was 10, a young girl with whom she was very closely associated “is thought to have become involved in sexual exploitation”, it concealed that this was “with particular reference to Asian men being involved”.

Other redacted details include:
· “At the centre of the Child S case is the issue of Child S’s potential involvement in sexual exploitation.”
· Many of the indicators that a child is being groomed for sexual exploitation “were apparent in the case of Child S”.
· Laura was referred to a specialist child sexual exploitation project three months after her 11th birthday.
· Laura was “taken into a car with men who encouraged her to drink alcohol”.
· When she was 13, “Child S and her friend were given alcohol by men at a local takeaway and were asked what they were going to give them in return”. Her mother said that “she had immediately notified the police”.
· Her mother “was shocked when it looked as though Child S was involved with older men” and said that “she had tried to get the police and social care to do something about it”.
· Her mother said that “Child S had always said that what [another girl] was doing was wrong and that she would never mess around with Asian men”.

The board’s claim that redactions were made to protect Laura’s relatives is weakened by the personal information about her family that it made public. Its published report disclosed that “from the age of two she experienced the emotional and physical stress of abuse within the family”. The board also chose to reveal that Laura shaved her baby’s head in keeping with Muslim tradition “and talked about bringing her up as a Muslim”.

In 2010 the Government ordered the publication of all serious case reviews. The Times has learnt that the Rotherham board tried to withhold the entire Laura Wilson report, a request rejected by the Department for Education. Mr Gove was told of differences between the review’s published and unredacted versions. He saw both last week and “made plain” to Alan Hazell, the board chairman, his desire for the report to be published “as fully as possible”.

A government spokesman said: “This girl was clearly let down at all stages of her short life. We need greater transparency if we are to give the public greater confidence in the child protection system. Those objectives are undermined if published reports are inappropriately edited.”

Mr Hazell said last week that “at no stage did we have any evidence that Laura was involved in child sexual exploitation”. He suggested that her death was the story of “a boyfriend from a relationship who callously murdered his girlfriend”. Yet the review’s executive summary said: “There is evidence from [Laura’s] behaviour that she did get involved in sexual exploitation.”

The report’s independent author, Pat Cantrill, suggested the absence of more definitive proof that Laura was being used for sex by adults may have been due to failings by care agencies: “Laura obviously had friendships with girls . . . involved in sexual exploitation. The fact that she was vulnerable and was involved in that world should have been enough for people to do more preventative work with her. That didn’t happen.”

In her report, Professor Cantrill said that care professionals in Rotherham needed “improved knowledge of sexual exploitation and grooming, including a better understanding of perpetrators”.

Mr Hazell said he rejected “in the strongest possible terms any suggestion that information was redacted from the published report for any reason other than to protect the interests of Laura’s daughter, immediate family and other third parties”.”

A powerful article indeed!

Rotherham’s Disgrace – The Council Reports – Download them here

Firstly the Press Release:

Serious Case Review – Child S

Published: Tuesday 29th May 2012

Services supporting children and young people have made changes to ensure lessons are learnt from the death of a young mother in Rotherham.

Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children Board has today published its Serious Case Review into the case of the 17-year-old, known as Child S, who was found murdered in October 2010. An 18-year-old was sentenced to 17 years in prison after admitting her killing.
The review highlights a number of issues where services could have been improved and has made recommendations, which have already been acted on by agencies across Rotherham.  It also makes clear that although there are elements of services which need to improve, there is no suggestion any individual or agency failings led to Child S’ death.
The independent report also reflects on the major recent improvements which have been made to services generally across Rotherham and says the many initiatives introduced should reduce the risk of a similar case happening again.
Alan Hazell, Chair of the Rotherham Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: “This is a wide ranging study which shows a very complex situation surrounding Child S and her child which made it difficult for agencies to engage with her.
“There is no suggestion that anyone could have saved Child S from what ultimately happened to her but clearly her care could have been improved. There were chances for those agencies to be more proactive in how they dealt with the case and all agencies involved accept that and apologise that the standards of service were not as high as they should have been.
“It is vital that agencies learn from what happened here and there is clearly a commitment in Rotherham to make that happen. As the report comments, there are already many initiatives in place to ensure that services are now improved.
“That is reflected by the removal of a Government Improvement Notice last year and a rating of ‘performs adequately’ in the latest national Children’s Services Assessment ratings.
“We now need to step up the pace of improvement and the Board will continue to oversee the work of agencies in Rotherham to ensure that children, young people and their families receive improved services both now and in the future.”
Among the changes already introduced are:
  • Creation of new Contact And Referral Team (CART) to provide improved initial assessments and better access to services
  • Introduction of specialist support teams e.g. Learning Disability Services, Complex Health Care team, and Looked After Children’s Services.
  • Establishment of Learning Communities which provide clear routes to care and support for every child and young person and help co-ordinate Prevention and Early Intervention work in each community.
  • Quarterly performance monitoring by the Children and Young People’s Trust Board of progress under the Children and Young People’s Plan
Issued by: Steve Pearson, Tel: 01709 822641
Email: steve-cyps.pearson@rotherham.gov.uk

The published reports: