Rotherham MBC has regained a further five powers including control of its human resources services and management of assets - but commissioners retain the right to veto cabinet decisions relating to domestic violence issues.
One week after a series of council-commissioned reports into the events surrounding the child sexual exploitation scandal that hit the town were published, communities secretary Sajid Javid has confirmed he has also handed back to the council control of its community safety department which oversees community cohesion. However, commissioners have retained enhanced oversight over services supporting victims of domestic violence. This would allow the relevant commissioner to veto any cabinet decision if they feel it is necessary.
Oversight of the performance management in each of the council’s service areas has also been returned to the council along with control of its waste collections.
LGC reported in July how Mr Javid was “minded to” return all of these powers back to the council.
While Rotherham has regained eight powers in the last nine months, commissioners retain executive decision-making powers over the council’s children’s social care services, special allowances, and also the appointment and dismissal of any statutory officers. The commissioners will also continue to have oversight over all returned functions.
Rotherham has been subject to government intervention since February 2015, after a report found the council needed to undergo “fundamental change” in the wake of a child sexual exploitation scandal involving 1,400 children in the town.
Mr Javid said: “The council is continuing to make progress under the watchful eye of our commissioners and the return of additional powers to Rotherham reflects this progress.
“However, the commissioners will remain in place and continue to work with the council to help restore full democratic powers.”
The team of commissioners is led by Mary Ney, who replaced Sir Derek Myers as lead commissioner in April 2017.
Mr Javid will continue to receive reviews from the commissioners every three months with a view to the government’s intervention ending on 31 March 2019.