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HCPC investigating Rotherham social workers

The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) is “making inquiries” as to whether disciplinary action should be taken against staff at Rotherham Council, following last week’s report revealing the extent of child exploitation in the town

The regulator has the power to strike off or suspend social workers if they are found guilty of misconduct. It can also introduce ‘conditions of practice’ that require workers to undertake training in particular work areas. 

Last week, Professor Alexis Jay’s study revealed that at least 1,400 children in the Rotherham area had been sexually exploited over a 16-year period. She also concluded that the local authority knew as far back as 2005 of sexual exploitation being committed on a wide scale – mostly by Asian men – yet failed to act. 

Michael Guthrie, director of policy and standards at the HCPC, has said that the regulator will investigate matters that are referred “to us or that are picked up through other means such as press reports”. 

“We are currently trying to get evidence about the individuals involved and what role they played,” he said. The regulator added that it was now “making inquiries with Rotherham to determine what action, if any, it needs to take”. 

Its inquiries will cover both current staff and those who worked at Rotherham during the relevant period. 

Following on from last week’s news, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright has revealed he plans to stand down in two years, but won’t quit immediately following the child sex grooming scandal. 

The Sheffield Star has revealed that Wright, who was responsible for children's services at Rotherham Council from 2005 to 2010, insists that it is “not the right thing” for him to go immediately. 

There have been many calls for Wright, who was elected as Commissioner in November 2012, to stand down after last week’s revelations. Although he has not resigned from his current position, he has formally tendered his resignation from the Labour Party. 

(Image of Rotherham council offices: Lynne Cameron / PA) 

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