Commissioner at Rotherham Council moves on

Published Wednesday, 13th April 2016
Commissioner Malcolm Newsam
Commissioner Malcolm Newsam

The man brought in by the Government to oversee Rotherham Council's children's services is set to move on after doing 18 months in the post.

Malcolm Newsam was appointed as Commissioner for Children's Social Care in 2014 in the wake of the Jay report into the town. He will be replaced by a different commissioner.

He will leave the Council after the May elections this year, by which time the Government will have finalised who will take over instead.

This news comes just weeks after decision-making powers were returned to some Council departments, including within children's services, reflecting the confidence Commissioners have that these services are operating effectively and are being well led by officers and councillors. However, some still remain under the control of the Government, including children's social care, with the plan for them all to be returned in the near future.

Commissioner Newsam said: "I have decided to bring my appointment as Commissioner for Children's Social Care with Rotherham to a close after the local elections in May.

"In October 2014, I was asked by the Secretary of State to undertake a three month assignment and so, after some eighteen months, I think it is now time for me to move on. I have been immensely privileged to be part of the Rotherham recovery and I know that with Strategic Director Ian Thomas and his new management team now finally in place, I leave the service in very good hands.

"The Department for Education is currently making arrangements for my replacement and I anticipate this will be communicated in the near future."

He has also thanked staff at the Council in an internal memo this week for "the support and encouragement you have offered me over this period and the work you have all put in to improve the lives of children and young people in Rotherham."

Commissioner Newsam was one of five commissioners, led by Sir Derek Myers, appointed by the Government.

Following the appointment of new Chief Executive Sharon Kemp in February, Commissioner Stella Manzie left the Council.

The appointments are expected to be in force until the end of March 2019 but a phased roll-back of powers to the Council is already underway.

This has included the appointment last year of Ian Thomas, the Council's Strategic Director of Children and Young People's Services. He said: "I am grateful to Commissioner Newsam for his vote of confidence in the work that both I and my team are doing here in Rotherham. We are wholly committed to making Rotherham a child-centred borough and this sits at the heart of everything we do.

"We have learned vital lessons from the issues around child sexual exploitation (CSE), which exposed fundamental flaws in the way this service was being run. I have welcomed Commissioner Newsam's support and guidance in the time I have worked with him and I look forward to working with the next interim Commissioner, with the view to my service being able to be in sole charge of all its functions in the near future.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Commissioner Newsam for the fundamental and continuous progress he has made in children's services here at Rotherham Council."

Sir Derek Myers added: "Commissioner Malcolm Newsam continues to have responsibility for Children's Social Care, but has now decided that he wants to bring his service to the Council to a close after some 18 months. He will no longer serve after early May 2016 and I am consulting with the Department for Education as to a successor Commissioner for Children's Services."

The elections in May are all-out elections, meaning every seat is up for challenge. There is expected to be a period of handover between Commissioner Newsam and the new Commissioner appointed to take over his brief.

Read more about the Commissioners

More about the May elections