Council ups child protection focus to avoid Rotherham style abuse scandal

Sandwell scrutiny board warns it's "vital" authority learns from Rotherham failings, where knowledge of abuse was suppressed

Sandwell council is to look more closely at child protection matters in a bid to avoid a repeat of the Rotherham abuse scandal.

In a children’s services scrutiny board meeting this week, council members concluded that the board “must look to find ways to further develop its capability and capacity around children’s services and safeguarding”.

New measures will include: holding the cabinet member for children’s services to account at least once a year; considering the outcome of any whistleblowing relating to children’s services; considering how complaint data is being used to inform service improvement.

Serious case reviews

Serious case reviews will be considered more closely, with the board requesting follow-up reports on how learning has been implemented.

The board will also have greater involvement in policy development, and publicise the “key benefit” of involving scrutiny in the process.

It is “vital” the council learns from what happened in Rotherham, the board said, where knowledge of widespread sexual exploitation was suppressed in children’s services.

Learning from Rotherham

“From the failings and weaknesses identified at Rotherham in the Casey Report, there are lessons that can be learnt and improvement that can be made in Sandwell around a number of aspects of the board’s work and approach,” the board said.

Matthew Sampson, director of children’s services for the council, welcomed the board’s support “in this vital area of work”.

“It is essential for all local authorities to learn from Rotherham’s experience and ensure we are doing all we can to make sure children are safe,” Sampson said.

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