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Pickles 'minded' to commission Rotherham investigation

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The communities secretary is “minded” to commission an independent investigation into Rotherham MBC, the home secretary has revealed.

Responding to an urgent Commons question in relation to revelations about child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, home secretary Theresa May said Eric Pickles was considering an independent investigation of the local authority. This related to concerns of “inadequate scrutiny by councillors, institutionalised political correctness and covering-up of information and the failure to take action against gross misconduct”.

During the session, there was an accusation from Kettering MP Philip Hollobone (Con) that council leaders were too far removed from the electorate and he wanted to know what could be done to change this culture.

Ms May said Mr Pickles is looking at what lessons local government could learn from this.

Earlier in the day, Rotherham’s local paper The Star reported that Labour had suspended the authority’s former leader, Roger Stone, and ex-deputy leader, Jahangir Akhtar, as well as serving councillors Gwendoline Ann Russell, who chairs the town’s looked-after children scrutiny panel, and Shaukat Ali, a former mayor. The suspensions would continue pending an investigation, the party said.

Meanwhile, South Yorkshire Police’s Chief Constable David Crompton has commissioned an independent inquiry into his force’s handling of allegations of child sexual exploitation.

It was also announced in the House of Commons that South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner Shaun Wright will give evidence on the Rotherham child sex scandal to a parliamentary committee.

It has also emerged that the Commons communities and local government committee will be taking evidence from Rotherham MBC’s chief executive Martin Kimber and strategic director of children and young people’s services Joyce Thacker in a hearing on 10 September.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Given the extent of the abuse and that it is not confined to Rotherham may be a Mid Staffs style public enquiry would be suitable with 'witnesses' on oath?

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