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Scandal-hit Rotherham council sees ‘impressive’ turnaround in children’s service

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC) has seen its children’s service reach a ‘good’ level for the first time since the revelations of tragic child sexual abuse unfolded in the town.

Ofsted today announced an “impressive” improvement in the ratings for children in need of help, as well as protection for those who are still looked after or are care leavers.

The authority registered a ‘good’ score in two of the regulator’s three categories, although it still ‘required improvement’ in its care for children who are achieving permanence.

Central government took control over a number of key powers from the council in 2015 after a damning report into the sexual exploitation of at least 1,400 children in the region.

Then-communities secretary Eric Pickles sent in commissioners to take over executive functions of the council’s cabinet, which resigned in full after the report was released – although many of these have now been returned to the authority.

Today’s Ofsted report says the council’s leadership has “taken a systematic and rigorous approach to improvement” which has led services to develop.

“The recruitment of effective senior managers has resulted in sustained improvement,” it reads.

“The quality and impact of services for children are transformed. Risks to children are recognised early and responded to, ensuring their safety. The corporate response and associated change in the quality of children’s services has been impressive.”

The children and education regulator completed the investigations in a period between 6 and 30 November 2017, the first major review of its kind since the scathing 2014 report which first laid bare the scale of issues in the town.

Rotherham Council’s children’s commissioner, Patricia Bradwell, said: “The council and its partners have worked very hard to change outcomes for children, young people and families here in Rotherham and I am delighted that this hard work has been recognised in this way. Staff and their managers at Rotherham Council have been extremely committed to making the changes in order to provide good services to families.

“It’s been a privilege to work with councillors, officers and partners on this improvement journey.”

Top image: Lynne Cameron PA Wire

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