Statement from Cllr Paul Lakin, Leader of the Council

Published Saturday, 18th October 2014
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Response to the publication today (October 18) of the Home Affairs Committee Report

“As I have repeatedly stated since these events came to light, I too was extremely concerned to hear about the alleged removal of files, which is again referred to in today’s Home Affairs Committee report. Consequently, I had already asked the Chief Executive to ensure a thorough internal investigation was carried out. I am also now asking the Chief Executive to widen out this investigation, given Alexis Jay's comments about missing files from the period between 1999 and 2003. As soon as the outcomes of work are known, I will ensure the information is shared with all relevant agencies so that the appropriate action can be undertaken.

"We very much welcome the recommendation of the Home Affairs Committee regarding the need for a separate, thorough, transparent and urgent investigation within the Home Office, with which the Council will be happy to co-operate fully.

"I also instructed the Chief Executive to review again the actions of remaining Rotherham staff and to take any necessary capability or disciplinary action. Clearly this will take some time to follow due processes, but this work is now underway.

"I have also received assurances from the Chief Constable that an investigation independent of South Yorkshire Police is to be carried out into the perpetrators of child sexual exploitation, members and officers, following the issues highlighted in the Alexis Jay report. We will, of course, carefully consider its findings as soon as they are available and take the necessary steps to urgently address any issues raised.

“The Council is already taking significant steps to improve and strengthen its political and managerial leadership and accountability – a key theme in today’s report. A newly-appointed interim Chief Executive will be in post within the next fortnight, and we are in the process of recruiting an interim Strategic Director of Children’s Services. As I have continued to make clear since I became Leader, this is a new start for the Council, and we are committed to making the changes that the children and young people of Rotherham deserve.”

Leader of the Council