Statement from Cllr Roger Stone

Published Tuesday, 26th August 2014
Council Leader Roger Stone
Cllr Roger Stone

Today’s publication of Alexis Jay’s inquiry report has highlighted historic failings by Rotherham Borough Council and its partners in tackling the scourge that is child sexual exploitation.

The Council will now rightly consider the next steps to be taken following its publication, including ways to build on the significant improvements put in place in recent years.

I join our Chief Executive Martin Kimber and our Cabinet Member Cllr Paul Lakin in sending my heartfelt apologies to those young people and their families who this report shows have been badly let down by the Council in the past.

Like any right-minded person, I am disgusted by CSE and abhor the lifelong damage that it wreaks upon the lives of all those affected by it. It is a matter of great regret for me, as it is for many others, that so many people have been traumatised by CSE here in Rotherham.

However, having considered the report, I believe it is only right that I, as Leader, take responsibility on behalf of the Council for the historic failings that are described so clearly in the report and it is my intention to do so.

For this reason, I have today agreed with my Labour Group colleagues that I will be stepping down as Leader, with immediate effect. A new Leader will be elected in due course.

I have always considered my most important job as Leader has been to share my passion for this borough and to work in the best interests of everyone here in Rotherham. I believe my decision to step down, though not an easy one for me to make, does exactly that, allowing a new chapter in the history of Rotherham Borough Council to begin.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those within the Council and in our partner organisations who have worked with me over the past 10 years and I wish them all the very best for the future.