- Commissioner's bulletin 31 March 2017
- Commissioner's bulletin 18 November 2016
- Commissioner's bulletin 3 June 2016
- Commissioner's bulletin 31 March 2016
- Commissioner's bulletin 2 March 2016 (You are here)
- Commissioner's bulletin January 2016
- Commissioner's bulletin December 2015
- Commissioner's bulletin October 2015
- Commissioner's bulletin September 2015
- Commissioner's bulletin July 2015
- Commissioner's bulletin June 2015
- Commissioner's bulletin May 2015
Commissioner's bulletin 2 March 2016
It is now one year since Commissioners began working in Rotherham. We have restored some functions to the Council and look to return others by summer 2016.
12 Months Review: report to Secretaries of State for Communities and Local Government, and Education
On 26 February I submitted my fourth quarterly report to both Secretaries of State. It reflects a year of progress. We have a stronger more responsive Children’s Service that is addressing the serious failings identified by Ofsted. Our senior management team is taking shape with a new Chief Executive, assistant Chief Executive and most of the Leadership Team now in place. Our Elected Members are adhering to and promoting a higher standard of conduct and values. One third of Commissioners’ decision-making responsibilities have been returned to the Council, which not only means renewed responsibility for the Cabinet, but also a more prominent role for Scrutiny Councillors as ‘call-in’ arrangements are returned.
In my last bulletin I trailed some work we were doing to gauge public confidence in the Council. We have spoken to key partners who play an important role in the borough, as well as asking for views from councillors, staff and the public. Whilst it is clear we have to go some way to restoring this confidence, our trajectory is upwards and I seek to accelerate this in the coming months.
The report and letter will be available once Secretaries of State have agreed for them to be published.
Return of Functions: new responsibilities
Commissioners, councillors and officers have revised responsibilities following the return of some functions to the Council. Some of the decision-making now lies with Cabinet, although the majority still rests with Commissioners and includes some of those the previous Managing Director Commissioner held.
Last month the Cabinet met in public for the first time since intervention and were able to take decisions relating to areas of work now back within the hands of the Council. A new set of working protocols and a revised decision-making procedure is now available. Details of those functions retained within Commissioners’ responsibilities, along with those being returned can be found on the Commissioner web pages.
Four men and two women were convicted of multiple sexual offences committed against 15 young girls at the conclusion of the recent trial into non-recent child sexual exploitation in Rotherham. This is a significant moment, not only with lengthy custodial sentences being handed out to the perpetrators but also as justice to the survivors who all came forward and gave evidence, being fully supported by the Council and other agencies. It is the beginning of a number of multi-agency investigations which will progress in 2016 and into 2017.
The ‘Casey Report’ found that previously the Council did not welcome whistleblowing and took steps to silence those who came forward with any issues or concerns. This is no longer the case. The new Whistleblowing and Serious Misconduct Policy is designed so that employees who have any concerns can raise them in a number of ways and without any fear of being discriminated or victimised. If you wish to see the new policy, please contact the Commissioners’ Office.
Rush House and Safe @ Last
Over the coming weeks, two of the Commissioners’ Team will be attempting to push their stamina and skills to the limit as they raise money for two outstanding charities. On Sunday 20 March, Steven Nesbit will be swimming 10,000 metres to raise money for Rush House, a charity based opposite Clifton Park which helps those vulnerable young people who are homeless or inappropriately housed. The locally-run voluntary organisation provides accommodation as well as advice and independent living skills training. Tanya Palmowski will be taking part in a "So Strictly Come Dancing" event at Sheffield City Hall. She is hoping to raise money for Safe @ Last, a charity working with and on behalf of young people at risk through running away from home.
To donate, please go to Steven or Tanya's Just Giving pages.
Sir Derek Myers,