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No former leaders at Rotherham will face legal action

No-one should face legal action for the failings at Rotherham Council around Child Sexual Exploitation, an investigation has found.

The way in which the council responded to CSE in Rotherham was not the responsibility or fault of any one person and was “the product of multiple and systemic failures”, said an investigation into the Conduct of Senior Employees of the Council over the period of the Jay Report.

The Jay Report into CSE at Rotherham concluded that 1,400 children had been sexually exploited. A follow-up inspection by Louise Casey commissioned by the government found “a council in denial”.

However, the investigation by law firm Gowling WLG said: “Whilst there may have been errors of judgement or missed opportunities as detailed in this report; and a failure, in some cases to tackle cultural issues effectively (or, in Mr Rogers’ case, to grasp issues in a service for which he was directly responsible); we have found no culpable behaviour which could now justify any form of legal action or regulatory involvement of any kind.”

Whilst there are provisions within the Local Government Pension Scheme to review pensions in certain circumstances, the report found no evidence to suggest there was  either gross negligence or fraud and no need for the council to take steps in that respect.

Nor were any issues identified which warranted a referral to the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the investigation added.

“This report has examined what happened in the past and many of those involved have retired or moved on. The council is not the same institution it once was either in terms of performance or culture, where significant improvements appear to have been made,” said the report.

“We recognise that substantial progress, especially in children’s services. Whilst the present day managers should look to see how the lessons learned are implemented, in our view it is vital that, the council should continue to look forward,” it concluded.

Rotherham Council responded saying that in children’s services, there is a new senior management team in place, also placing high expectations on standards. The council has made significant investments in this area; employing more social workers to enable smaller caseloads and strengthening front-line staff in critical areas.

“The senior leadership team is focused on the delivery of the Council’s Improvement Plan, embedding new performance management arrangements for ensuring its delivery and publishing progress reports every quarter,” it added.

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