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Rotherham Council chief executive quits after abuse failings

Martin Kimber, the chief executive at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC), is to step down after a recent report exposed the scale of child sex abuse in the South Yorkshire town. 

In a statement it was confirmed that Kimber, who joined the local authority in 2009, will leave the council at the end of December. 

Professor Alexis Jay’s independent inquiry into historic cases of child sexual exploitation recently revealed that at least 1,400 children in the Rotherham area had been sexually exploited over a 16 year period

Prof Jay, a former chief inspector of social work, concluded that the council knew as far back as 2005 of sexual exploitation being committed on a wide scale by mostly Asian men, yet failed to act. 

After the report was presented to RMBC’s Cabinet, Kimber apologised unreservedly for those failings to the children, young people and their families whose lives had been affected. 

Shortly after the publication of the report council leader Roger Stone quit, and there have been calls for South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright, who was in charge of children's services in Rotherham from 2005 to 2010, to step down. 

In a statement Kimber said: “The report does not make comfortable reading in its account of the horrific experiences of some young people in the past, and I would like to reiterate my sincere apology to those who were let down when they needed help. 

“The events of the past fortnight will again have been an incredibly traumatic time for them and their families, and have shaken the town as a whole. 

“The Council has now decided what it must do to give the best possible protection for the children and young people of Rotherham. I believe that new leadership will enable the town to recover more quickly from the events of the last two weeks, and strongly signal a new beginning at this critical time in its recovery. The time is therefore now right for me to leave.” 

Today Kimber will appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee, which will also hear evidence from South Yorkshire's chief constable, David Crompton, Rotherham council's strategic director of children's services, Joyce Thacker, and the NSPCC chief executive, Sir Peter Wanless, who is leading a review into the Home Office's handling of abuse allegations. 

Kimber and Thacker will also appear in front of the Communities and Local Government Committee on Wednesday 10 September. 

(Image: c. Dave Higgens) 

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