ROTHERHAM’S NEW director of children’s services has promised to create a “safe environment” for young people in the wake of its abuse scandal.
Ian Thomas has been brought in to replace Joyce Thacker, one of the council leaders accused of a series of failings over widespread child sexual exploitation exposed in the Jay report.
Ms Thacker received a £40,000 payout after heeding repeated calls to step down following the publication of the report, which said over 1,400 girls had been subjected to sexual abuse, mainly by gangs of men of Pakistani heritage, in Rotherham from 1997 to 2013.
Mr Thomas, currently strategic director of children’s services at Derbyshire County Council, will take up the post in the New Year.
The Sheffield-born son of a steelworker is credited with implementing the county’s first education strategy, which has led to a 19 per cent improvement in number of schools rated ‘good’ or ‘better’, and taking Derbyshire to fourth-best in the country for dealing with troubled families.
He said yesterday: “I am privileged to be joining Rotherham to lead the transformation of the system that improves outcomes for children in the borough.
“That system is a partnership involving many others – police, health services, voluntary, community and independent sectors, and families themselves – who will have to play a role in supporting our children to grow and develop in a safe and nurturing environment.
“I’m confident in Rotherham’s future and looking forward to working with the many people who are absolutely dedicated to this cause – elected members, senior officers and the dedicated staff delivering services on the front line.”