The Government has confirmed that its period of intervention at Rotherham Council will come to an end today on Sunday 31 March. This represents a significant journey of improvement at the Council and the return of local democratic decision making. The ending of government intervention has come about sooner and earlier than had been planned when intervention began which reflects the pace of change that has occurred.
The Council was placed under the control of five Government-appointed Commissioners in February 2015 after investigations found that significant failings at the Council had contributed to child sexual exploitation in the borough. As Council services improved, powers were gradually returned to the local Council and the Commissioners were removed in September 2018.
Last month, the former Commissioners completed a final health check of the Council and reported that:
“Crucially, the political and managerial leadership of the Council have re-established the Council’s moral compass. There is clarity on the council’s values and ethos and a whole council commitment to safeguarding young people. This gives confidence that the council will be vigilant in protecting the vulnerable, will avoid back-sliding or failure to address adverse issues as they arise”.
As a result of these improvements, the Commissioners felt that Government intervention was no longer required and concluded that…”it is our view that the pace of improvement across the Council has increased beyond our expectations”.
In response to the news, Cllr Chris Read, Labour Leader of Rotherham Council has said:
“Over the last four years, Rotherham Council has undergone a transformation. The recent report reflects that huge progress that has been made over that period of time, not just in Children’s Services, but also the way we approach the big challenges that we face. The end of the intervention is an important milestone, and one that should give residents confidence in the changes that we have made. But we take nothing for granted, and we continue to work hard to deliver the services that people rely on.”