Rotherham Council Ruled "Not Fit For Purpose"

4 February 2015, 12:40 | Updated: 5 February 2015, 12:48

Rotherham council has been branded unhealthy: with bullying, sexism, and misplaced "political correctness" being blamed for its failures.

An inspection by the department for Communities and Local Government has found the Council is not fit for purpose, and needs a new start. 

The report says the council is failing in its legal duties to improve how it operates and also to protect vulnerable children.

This inspection was ordered after the Jay report found 1,400 young people had been groomed and abused in the town.

It has found not enough is being done to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation with a lack of support for victims and not enough action against known perpetrators.

The inspection team reviewed 7000 documents, looked in detail at case files and met with over 200 people, including current and former staff, council Members, partners, victims and parents.

The investigations revealed:

A council in denial about serious and on-going safeguarding failures.
An archaic culture of sexism, bullying and discomfort around race.
Weak and ineffective arrangements for taxi licensing which leave the public at risk.
Ineffective leadership and management, no shared vision.
A culture of covering up uncomfortable truths, silencing whistle-blowers and paying off staff rather than dealing with difficult issues.

The issue of race is highlighted, with staff lacking he confidence to tackle difficult issues for fear of being seen asracist or upsetting community cohesion.

The report also says, by failing to take action against the Pakistani heritage male perpetrators of CSE, the Council has inadvertently fuelled the far right and allowed racial tensions to grow.

The report concluded that RMBC does not have strong enough political and managerial leadership to guide the borough out of its present difficulties and put it back on a path to success.

It acknowledges there have been some improvements since changes were made in the senior management team - but that won't be enough to stop the culture of sexism, bullying and silencing debate.

It concludes that the council needs a fresh start.