Rotherham Council welcomes return of some powersPublished Thursday, 11th February 2016
Rotherham Council has today welcomed the return of some of its powers.
Housing, education, public health, planning, highways, leisure, cultural services and planning policy, along with control of budgeting in these areas, are now once again the responsibility of Rotherham Council’s Cabinet.
Other areas, including children’s and adults’ social care and licensing, will continue to be overseen by Commissioners while improvements continue.
Rotherham Council’s Leader Cllr Chris Read said today’s announcement was an important step towards returning local democracy to Rotherham, adding: "Councillors and the executive team have been working closely with the Commissioners over the last year, and this decision reflects the confidence Commissioners have that these services are operating effectively and are being well led by officers and councillors.
"Dramatic change was needed in Rotherham, but the Council today is a different organisation to what it was two years ago. However there is no room for complacency. We have plenty more work to do and we must stay the course now to ensure that local residents have the Council that they deserve."
The decision comes as the Council moves towards a permanent strategic leadership team. New Chief Executive Sharon Kemp started earlier this month, with three further permanent senior appointments recently announced.
Meanwhile, Cllr Read has increased his Cabinet to eight, having recently announced three new members. The Cabinet’s first meeting was held in January.
Lead Commissioner Sir Derek said: "A large number of improvements have been made to services over the past year, supported by the Advisory Cabinet, and the new management team in Rotherham is taking shape with a new Chief Executive now in place. The significance of these changes is not to be underestimated.
"Before we hand back further powers, we need to be absolutely certain that councillors are fully prepared, services are stable, and that the Council has the public’s confidence. Whist the pace of improvement has been good, there is much more to do in some areas.
"At this time we don’t propose to hand back those services which we know still need improvement, including children’s social care. Although further progress is both necessary and expected, a good start has been made, and I would like to commend the staff of the Council and members for their continuing efforts and their positive commitment to work with Commissioners in the public interest."