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Rotherham accepts 'inadequate' report

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Rotherham MBC has accepted an Ofsted report that has found its children’s services “inadequate”.

The report, published today, found both the council’s services and the multi-agency local safeguarding children’s board to be “inadequate”.

Council leader Paul Lakin (Lab) said Rotherham would use the report as a “benchmark” against which to improve.

The council has been at the centre of a high-profile scandal since an independent report this summer found 1,400 children were sexually abused in the town between 1997 and 2013.

The report warned of “serious and widespread failures in child protection work”.

It said: “Partnership working in child protection, particularly between the local authority and the police, is ineffective.”

The watchdog also found “poor performance management and limited quality assurance processes” had “contributed to the authority’s lack of effective action to address deteriorating performance”.

In a statement Cllr Lakin said: “Keeping children and young people safe remains our highest priority.

“We are sorry that we have let them down in the past, but we know that apologies simply aren’t enough. We are determined and committed to addressing all the issues raised in this report, and must demonstrate that we are doing so, if we are to rebuild trust and confidence in our services.”

Steve Ashley, independent chair of the local safeguarding children’s board, said Ofsted’s report was “a further example of where collectively agencies could have done better for children, young people and families”.

The publication of the report comes after Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw warned education secretary Nicky Morgan last month, before the watchdog had finished its inspection of the council’s services, of “deep concerns about serious weaknesses” at the authority.

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