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End-date announced for intervention in Rotherham

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Commissioners are set to leave Rotherham MBC this weekend following a direction from the housing and communities secretary.

All powers will be returned to the authority, including those relating to children’s social care, after more than three years of government intervention, which began after it was revealed that at least 1,400 children were abused in the area over a 16-year period.

The official date commissioners will leave Rotherham is 23 September. 

Housing and communities secretary James Brokenshire said: “I am pleased that strong progress has now been made at the council with the support of the commissioners.

“The return of all powers to Rotherham council is not a decision that I take lightly, but I am satisfied that the council has learnt the lessons of the past and is now able to provide the services its residents deserve and expect.”

Mr Brokenshire issued a “minded to” statement on the decision in July, returning all powers to the council, including for children’s social care.

The government’s directions also require the council to submit an independent review of their performance by 18 February 2019. This review must establish that the council is a “best value authority”, as defined by part one of the 1999 Local Government Act.

Rotherham leader Chris Read (Lab) said he was “delighted with the progress” the council has made and added: “Whilst the work is never complete and we continue to face significant challenges I hope that residents will be able to take assurance that we are firmly on the right track.”

Chief executive Sharon Kemp said: “Over the past four years there have been significant changes here at the council, including changes across the leadership.

“Today’s announcement is pleasing, however we continue to focus on constantly improving outcomes for all our residents and stakeholders.”

Lead commissioner Mary Ney said: “Whilst the council still faces challenges we have confidence that the leadership of the council is strong and will work hard to address these.”

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