Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Entire Rotherham council cabinet resigns, DCLG send in administrators

The entire Labour cabinet at Rotherham Council have resigned over a damning report into child sexual exploitation in the town and the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, Eric Pickles, has sent in five administrator to run the council until elections can be held next year.

A report commissioned by the DCLG found that there is a deep-rooted culture of cover-ups and silencing whistle blowers and an unwillingness to accept that there was a problem which resulted in the council's Youth Services team being disbanded because they kept reporting the child abuse. The report found that when child abusers are discovered by the council "little or no action is taken to stop or even disrupt their activities" and that former council leader, Roger Stone, was a bully.

The National Crime Agency, which deals with serious and organised crime, has been passed a file to consider criminal charges which includes a former and current councillor. South Yorkshire Police are also investigating 10 police officers over their handling of child sexual exploitation.

The resignation of the Labour cabinet is a start but all those councillors, council officers and police officers who helped cover up the abuse of over 1,400 children need to face criminal charges.

The leader of the opposition, UKIP councillor Caven Vines, has meanwhile called for immediate elections to enable the people of Rotherham to decide who they want to run the council in the wake of this report.
The whole council needs to be disbanded and the people of Rotherham should be given the immediate opportunity to vote for who they want to lead them moving forward in the wake of the Casey report.

Eric Pickles has announced that elections in the town will not be held until 2016. This is simply too late. It is only by giving the people of Rotherham a full say in the future of the town, that we can build the community support that we will need to move forward. What Mr Pickles is suggesting is that the people of Rotherham cannot be trusted to vote for a better future, it is a dereliction of democracy.

The simple fact is that Rotherham is in desperate need of direct help and support to deal with this crisis, which deepens with each new report. Labour has failed the people of Rotherham in letting the abuse happen in the first place and then failed them again in the wake of the Jay report, as little direct help has been given to victims. Labour must not be allowed to fail the victims and the town again.