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Published on Tuesday, 18th September 2018 in Council news news

Government-appointed Commissioners will leave Rotherham Council next week following an announcement today from the Secretary of State for Local Government.

The announcement means that all decision making will return entirely to the democratically elected councillors.

The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, the Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government announced the significant step today, saying the Council will have full democratic control of all its services when the decision comes into force from next Monday (September 24).

This follows him saying in July that he was “minded” to return the last remaining powers back to the Council, remove Commissioners, and require a final review to be held by March next year.

Council leaders have today welcomed the news. Council Leader Cllr Chris Read said: “Today’s confirmation of the early departure of Commissioners from the Council is testimony to the hard work of many people over the last few years.

“The announcement comes on the back of our “Good” Ofsted report for children’s services earlier in the year. That our Children’s Services have been transformed has been a critical indicator of the changes that we have made. But it has only been one part of challenging, re-examining, and improving the way we work and the culture of the Council.

“We could not be where we are today if it wasn’t for the dedication of lots of people – our staff, partner agencies, Commissioners and councillors – who were all united in determination that the people of Rotherham should be better served than they had been in the past. My thanks go to all those people today.

“I’m delighted with the progress that we have made. Whilst the work is never complete and we continue to face significant challenges I hope that residents will be able to take assurance that we are firmly on the right track.”

Chief Executive Sharon Kemp added: “Over the past four years there have been significant changes here at the Council, including changes across the leadership.

“Today’s announcement is pleasing however we continue to focus on constantly improving outcomes for all our residents and stakeholders.”

The Council was placed under the control of five Government-appointed Commissioners in 2015 - which later reduced to three - after a number of reports highlighted serious failings across the authority in the aftermath of its child sexual exploitation scandal.

Over the past two years the Government has gradually returned powers in stages to the Council in all other areas, with children’s services remaining the last power still under Commissioner over-sight.

Lead Commissioner Mary Ney said: “The Commissioners are pleased that the continuous hard work of members, officers and partners in Rotherham has resulted in sufficient improvement for democratic decision-making to be restored to the Council.

“Whilst the Council still faces challenges we have confidence that the leadership of the Council is strong and will work hard to address these. We would like to thank the Council and all of the members and staff we have worked with for their efforts and commitment and we wish the Council, its partners and Rotherham well for the future.”

 

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