The chair of Rochdale’s Safeguarding Children Board has resigned with immediate effect.
Lynne Jones had chaired the board since 2010, recently leading on a review into the sexual exploitation of young girls in the borough. It was commissioned after news broke that girls as young as 13 had been groomed and abused by a gang of men in the area.
The review revealed that social workers repeatedly ignored victims of sexual exploitation because they perceived teenage girls to be “making their own choices”.
An investigation into the failings by Rochdale council and a serious case review are due to be published soon.
Jones, who has chaired a number of safeguarding boards and was previously assistant director of children’s services in Bolton, said it was the right time to bring in a new chair.
Gladys Rhodes-White, Rochdale’s interim executive director of children’s services, thanked Jones for her “dedication in a particularly challenging environment”, describing her as an “outstanding professional who cares passionately about improving outcomes for children”.
MP for Rochdale, Simon Danczuk, expressed dismay at “yet another resignation before the council's own report has come out”.
“Lynne Jones is the third senior manager to quietly leave the scene and people will be wondering if there will be any managers left to be held to account when the council eventually get round to delivering their verdict," he said.
Rochdale council is seeking an interim independent chair, pending a recruitment process. Her departure follows the resignation of Cheryl Eastwood, Rochdale's director of children's services and Steve Garner, targeted services director for children.
Register for the soon-to-be published Community Care Inform guide to working with children at risk of sexual exploitation Rochdale abuse victims ignored by social workers, review finds