Serious child abuse conduct failures at Rotherham Council 'more cock up than conspiracy' - report

A review into the conduct of senior manager at Rotherham Council at the time of the town's child abuse scandal has found serious failures were "more cock-up than conspiracy".

A report found: "We have not found evidence to support any notion that any individual 'turned a blind eye' to CSE in Rotherham. But neither is there much evidence of 'inquiring minds' or a purposive approach when evidence of what was happening did come to their attention.

"The actions taken to tackle CSE are the focus of this report, but one of the main problems in Rotherham was that no one had sole responsibility either for identifying CSE or for implementing strategies to tackle it. In our view, no individual officer can or should be held out as solely or principally culpable for the Council's failings."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Report author Mark Greenburgh told a council meeting: "No one person was uniquely culpable. Put plainly, it was more cock-up than conspiracy."

But he added there had been "surprising lapses of memory" from some of the people who were interviewed, while other former councillors and officers had refused to participate.

He said: "I'm sure there will be many who feel real anger at our findings. I wish there was a simpler and clearer answer."

Rotherham MP Sarah Champion said: “I had hoped that today’s publication of the reports into Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC) preventing child sexual exploitation would draw a line under the catalogue of errors that led to our children being let down so badly by those supposed to protect them.

"However, despite these huge failures, leading to at least 1,400 victims being let down, it appears that no individual at RMBC has yet been held to account for their role.

"How are the survivors meant to rebuild their lives without the closure these reports could have brought? How is Rotherham meant to have confidence that this will never happen again unless we know exactly what went wrong? This feels like a completely wasted opportunity to allow the town to move forward.

"I am also frustrated by the repeated delay of reports from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into the conduct of officers at South Yorkshire Police (SYP). Whilst I appreciate that these inquiries are complex, we must understand what went wrong if we are to be able to prevent it in the future.”

MORE TO FOLLOW