Rotherham child abuse scandal: Child safety officers will not face disciplinary action


No-one responsible for children’s safeguarding in Rotherham during the 16-year period when more than 1,400 young people were abused will face disciplinary action despite the mounting public anger over the scandal, the chief executive of the council has confirmed.

Martin Kimber told an emotionally charged public cabinet meeting in the South Yorkshire town that there was insufficient evidence to refer any individuals to their professional bodies for misconduct or malpractice inquiries.

Amid calls from the public gallery for the entire council to resign and angry shouts of protest from some councillors and members of the public, Mr Kimber once again publicly backed his director of children’s services, Joyce Thacker, and said no serving member of staff was to blame.

But he called on other local authorities to consider the role played by former senior officers who had now left the council. Last week The Independent revealed that at least three figures employed during the period now held high-ranking positions at other local authorities.

Mr Kimber responding to the report said that because the evidence provided to the Jay inquiry was anonymous he was not able to identify any information implicating individual council officials’ past or present although he said this situation would remain under review. The council did not have the power to question retired or former members of staff, he added.

Video: PM on Rotherham child sex abuse scandal

One individual had been asked to answer further questions on their knowledge of child sexual exploitation issues in the town, as well as what they knew about shared agency reports detailing the criminality. A second employee was to be quizzed as a result of new evidence not contained within the Jay report.

“These discussions will be concluded as swiftly as possible and may or may not lead to further actions,” he said.

“Where there were officers working in senior positions in child care services in Rotherham during the critical period and who are still involved in professional practice today it will be important for their current employers to read the independent Inquiry and form their own conclusions as to their role,” he added.

Rotherham Council chief executive Martin Kimber Rotherham Council chief executive Martin Kimber (PA)
Among those protesting outside Rotherham Town Hall was a 17-year-old girl, who said she was sexually exploited aged 12 while in foster care.

She said clear evidence had been missed by police and none of the men that abused her had been arrested or prosecuted.

“Police raided where I was staying with him [the alleged abuser] because I was missing to the local authority but they arrested me and not him. It wasn't clear to them that he'd been abusing me even though I was stood there naked.

"That wasn't clear enough to them. He was already on the sex offenders register," she said. Mike Hedges, Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police from 1998 to 2004, said he did not recall had being made aware of the issue of paedophile gangs.

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