Rotherham council to be taken over by five commissioners, Pickles announces

Local government secretary said the council is "incapable" of tackling its weaknesses, exposed by damning Louise Casey report

Communities secretary Eric Pickles; Photo: Mark Thomas/Rex Features
Communities secretary Eric Pickles; Photo: Mark Thomas/Rex Features

The day-to-day running of troubled Rotherham council will be taken over by five commissioners, local government secretary Eric Pickles announced today.

Led by Sir Derek Myers, the former joint chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham councils, the team of commissioners will undertake all of the authority’s executive functions and begin a rapid improvement programme.

Malcolm Newsam will remain in Rotherham as children’s social care commissioner, while Mary Ney and Julie Kenny will act as supporting commissioners.

Stella Manzie, a former chief executive of four councils, will be responsible for the day-to-day running of all services until a new permanent chief executive is appointed.

Damning report

The drastic move was first proposed following the publication of Louise Casey’s damning report into the running of Rotherham council. Having consulted on it for three weeks, Pickles confirmed the intervention would go ahead with immediate effect.

Pickles said the council is currently “incapable” of tackling its weaknesses without substantial intervention.

“Louise Casey and Professor Alexis Jay’s reports made clear that Rotherham suffered from a complete failure of political and officer leadership, with a pervading culture of bullying, sexism, suppression and misplaced political correctness that has cemented the council’s failures,” Pickles said.

He added he is prepared to make £250,000 available over two years to re-establish Risky Business, a Rotherham-based child sexual exploitation service closed in 2011.

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4 Responses to Rotherham council to be taken over by five commissioners, Pickles announces

  1. Poppy February 26, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

    Not before time!

  2. Anon March 1, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    So it should!!! this desperately needs to also happen in Birmingham, children and adults their families are being seperated needlessly after struggling alone to cope after being ignored for in excess of a year when asking for help under the duties owed to them under the disabled childrens act and Carers act. I understand that the best intrest of children must be paramount however wouldn’t it be better for all of the children involved to provide support the parents are asking for when requested rather than leaving them in situations where the children’s care becomes less than its best simply as a result of not having the right support at the right time to justify removal and permenant seperating of a family unit??? Yes the cost of support to families is expensive but it is a fraction of the cost in comparison to lengthy court proceedings n permenant full time care provision. Their mismanagement of public funding needs to end and get back to education families so be able to better themselves so families can remain together for the children’s sake.

  3. Jim Greer March 1, 2015 at 9:06 pm #

    The intention to re-instate Risky Business should be especially applauded. Meanwhile the social work profession needs to engage with the content of the Jay and Casey reports.

  4. Philip Measures March 2, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    ‘Anon’ is absolutely correct in respect of the likes of Rotherham, Birmingham (and others) but I don’t really see that it will be the highly paid Commissioners who will make things right but the right sort of recruitment, training and management at a ‘grassroots’ level.

    Unless and until there is a proper commitment to enabling constructive challenge / ‘whistle-blowing’ to be seen as positive and actually listening to other agencies / co-operating positively with them and, above all, demonstrating to children and families that they are been taken seriously and carefully listened up and properly assessed will there ever be any improvements.

    Many, like myself, have left social work (or been driven out) as a result of macho-management / target-chasing; oppressive local and national Government influences which have rarely been resisted, never mind challenged, by Elected members and senior managers within departments.

    Equally, unless and until social work realises what it should be all about and the career structure which actively sucks practitioners away into chasing high salaries is dismantled and skilled and experienced practitioners rewarded for those qualities, and retained in practise, will there ever be the right ‘mix’ at grassroots level- and it is exactly there that we need to concentrate the most.

    Philip.measures@gmail.com
    Retired and no longer Registered social worker but still passionate!.