Rotherham's children's services rated 'good' by Ofsted for first time since sexual abuse scandal

Inspection body hails 'transformed' council care provision since inquiry found evidence of as many as 1,400 youngsters having been exploited

Ryan Wilkinson
Monday 29 January 2018 10:27
Children walk along a street in the Eastwood area of Rotherham, South Yorkshire,
Children walk along a street in the Eastwood area of Rotherham, South Yorkshire,

Rotherham Council's children's services have “transformed” since the local authority was rocked by a child sexual exploitation scandal, according to Ofsted.

An inspection in 2014 identified “widespread and serious failures” of children in need of help by the council, while another inquiry found at least 1,400 children had been subject to sexual exploitation in the town.

A November re-inspection of the council's services for children in need of help and protection, children who are being looked after, and care leavers, found the “quality and impact of services for children are transformed”.

“Risks to children are recognised early and responded to, ensuring their safety,” the watchdog said.

“The corporate response and associated change in the quality of children's services has been impressive.”

Revelations about the widespread sexual exploitation of children in Rotherham sparked a national outcry, culminating in the 2014 Jay Report and its damning verdict on failures by the council.

The inquiry found there had been widespread exploitation of children in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013 and triggered the resignation of the council's leader, Roger Stone, soon after the report's publication.

Rotherham's police and crime commissioner, Shaun Wright, who was the councillor in charge of children's services in the town between 2005 and 2010, also resigned in the following weeks.

Nicky Morgan, the education secretary at the time, said she was “appalled” by the exploitation exposed by the report and announced an early inspection of child protection by Ofsted.

The watchdog later declared the services in Rotherham were “inadequate” and there were “widespread or serious failures that result in children being harmed or at risk of harm”.

A later report by Louise Casey was highly critical of the council, saying it was “not fit for purpose”, leading the entire political leadership to resign and the Government to step in.

In its latest assessment Ofsted said there was now a “robust response” to risk and a multi-agency team was able to focus on complex abuse work and identify and support children at risk of sexual exploitation.

Children's Commissioner at Rotherham Council, Patricia Bradwell, told the BBC: “The council and its partners have worked very hard to change outcomes for children, young people and families and I am delighted that this hard work has been recognised in this way.”


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