Rotherham children’s services boss resigns following abuse scandal

Ray Jones, author of The Story of Baby P, says Joyce Thacker's exit is the result of "media intimidation" and "pompous" politicians

Joyce Thacker, director of Rotherham children's services Photo: Rex

Rotherham Council’s director of children services has quit in the wake of the revelations that 1,400 children had been sexually abused in the town.

Joyce Thacker had held the position since 2008. Previously she was the council’s deputy director of children’s services.

Her decision to leave follows a report by Professor Alexis Jay that found reports of child sexual abuse made between 1997 and 2013 had been ‘suppressed or ignored’ by senior figures in the council.

She had been under pressure to leave since the report was published last month, but had refused to resign when questioned by Parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee.

Ray Jones, author of The Story of Baby P: Setting the Record Straight, said the pressure on Thacker echoed the fallout from the death of Baby P.

“The media and political bullies are at it again,” he said. “With no regard for proper process another children’s services director has been hounded out of her post.

“Media intimidation remains in action and pompous national politicians grandstand without the courage to be measured and to stand out against the media.

“None of this will make it any easier to recruit and retain a workforce to protect children in the future if, without a due and proper process, their continued employment can be made untenable.”

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3 Responses to Rotherham children’s services boss resigns following abuse scandal

  1. Philip Measures September 23, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

    I do not agree with Ray Jones that Joyce Thacker should not have left her Post. There has to be a demonstration of responsibility and accountability when things go so tragically and catastrophically wrong as 1400 girls being abused in Rotherham (and that is acknowledged to only be a conservative figure).

    Whatever went wrong was not dealt with as it ought to have been by a number of agencies so people were employed in Rotherham who either felt unable / unwilling to pass on details for whatever reason or they did not recognise it as happening.

    Systems which are so utterly unfit for purpose need to be deconstructed and more responsive ones put in their place.

    A range of professionals severely failed a huge number of abused girls – they have to be held to account from the very top downwards.

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  3. Charlotte Peters Rock September 25, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

    Since the work of child safeguarding seems flagrantly not to have been done, the accountable people should be charged with a ‘dereliction of duty of care’.

    The ‘brass-facing’ which I have observed from ‘professionals’, particularly during the online Select Committee meeting, shows clearly – out of their own mouths, rather than subverted by any press – their feeling of false ‘superiority over the common mass’.

    That seems to pervade the high end of the police, the crime commissioner, and those employed by the local authority – including Joyce Thacker. (Of course that does not imply guilt.)

    These people are being paid for their work as accountable people. They are not perceived to be acting accountably. They are letting down the most vulnerable in the community, as is perfectly apparent in the Jay Report.

    It is now up to the – unaccountable – police force to bring the – unaccountable – child protection services into the – unaccountable – court arena.

    The one thing which the – politically motivated – press can do, is actually being done here, to shine a light on what has happened and on the reactions of those who are/were heavily involved in what happens to safeguard – or not – out vulnerable young. If only the press would work ‘for the public good and independently’ they would be capable of acting as a public guardian for good, which they rarely seem to want to do.

    Perhaps social care, and police, and courts would like to get their own house in order, following which we would be assured – possibly still erroneously – of prosecutions where necessary, and removals, for ever, of such overpaid ‘high fliers’ who have no intention of doing the job for which the public is paying them.