Rotherham Council takes steps out of special measures

Rotherham Council leader Chris Read was praised by the commissioners
Rotherham Council leader Chris Read was praised by the commissioners
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ROTHERHAM councillors are to be handed back a raft of powers less than a year after the Government sent in commissioners to run the authority.

Housing, education, public health, planning, highways and leisure services will all be the responsibility of senior councillors in the same way as other local authorities.

The commissioners sent in by the Government to run Rotherham in February have decided the authority is ready for those functions to return to normal.

Ministers intervened after a highly critical report on the running of the council from Government inspector Louise Casey.

Her report raised particular concerns about the council’s lack of response to earlier criticism over its failure to protect hundreds of children from abuse.

Childrens’ services is one of the areas that will remain in the control of commissioners while further improvements are made.

Rotherham Council leader Chris Read, who was elected to the post in the aftermath of the Casey report, was praised by commissioners as they announced the handing back of some powers.

Lead commissioner Sir Derek Myers said: “I and my fellow commissioners are confident that Rotherham councillors are in a strong position to once again take responsibility and accountability for a number of core services, and that the organisation is fit to support them in doing so for local people.

“The council leader has shown strong and enthusiastic leadership, as have members of his advisory cabinet.

“Together with Commissioners and officers, they have driven significant improvements across services over the last nine months.”