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Rotherham council recommended for return of final powers, say commissioners

Government-appointed commissioners have given the green-light for Rotherham City Council to be regranted full control of public services after “impressive” improvements across departments since 2015.

Three years ago the council was placed under government control after the authority was found to be “not fit for purpose,” with a number of serious failings across the authority.

Rotherham’s commissioners have now made a further recommendation to ministers after a comprehensive health check this year found that the “speed and extent of the improvements delivered in 2015 were impressive.”

Late last year, then communities’ secretary Sajid Javid returned more powers to the council after Rotherham had made “big strides forward” and the scandal-hit council saw through an “impressive” turnaround in children’s services in January.

The independent health check team said: “The council’s governance, decision-making and organisational culture is being transformed and is already much improved. The speed and extent of the improvements delivered since 2015 are impressive.

“We saw a developing culture of accountability, honesty, transparency, openness and engagement. We heard that leadership and management are effective, working well together and are highly regarded by partners, staff and stakeholders.

“There is a shared vision for the borough and the council and many examples of excellent partnership working.”

Chief executive Sharon Kemp said the council “will never be complacent” about the issues in Rotherham, but added the report is a welcome recognition of the improvements that have been made.

“I want to thank each and every member of staff who has been part of the improvement journey over the last few years – I am immensely proud of what they have contributed and achieved.”

The health check was carried out between 27 February and 2 March 2018 by an experienced team including Frances Done, a government commissioner with Birmingham City Council; Irene Lucas, a chief executive in local government; and Cllr Imogen Walker, deputy leader of Lambeth Council.

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Image credit: nico_65


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