THE woman tasked with leading Rotherham through its abuse shame has apologised for council failings.
Jan Ormondroyd has admitted the “catalogue of failings” identified this week in the Louise Casey report leaves no option but for a fresh start at the crisis-hit council.
Ms Ormondroyd took over as interim chief executive at Rotherham Council last year after the Jay report revealed the extent of her predecessor’s failings.
Speaking after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced a Whitehall takeover of the council, Ms Ormondroyd said: “Louise Casey’s report describes a catalogue of cultural and system failings, and we have accepted its findings.
“The council could and should have done more in the past and we apologise for the devastating impact that this has had on the lives of the people of Rotherham.”
Mr Pickles revealed this week he will send in five commissioners to run services at Rotherham, a process that begins with the council sending its response to the Casey review.
Commissioner’s are then likely to be in charge for up to four years, with a fresh round of all-out elections taking place in 2016.
Backing the need to start again, Ms Ormondroyd said the council needed clarification from Mr Pickles’ department on what happens next.
She said: “What Rotherham needs now is a move towards stability, a clear way forward and the fresh start which Louise Casey and her team have called for.
“We understand the impact of the current uncertainties around the future leadership and management of the council on the people of Rotherham, and also on staff in the Council.
“I have written to the Department for Communities and Local Government, urging them to confirm urgently who the five commissioners who will take over the running of the council will be and to ensure they are in place as soon as possible.
“Given the scale of change which the Council is now facing, it is inevitable that there will be questions that people will have that we can’t answer immediately. However, we are committed to sharing information and providing clarity as soon as we can.”
Ms Ormondroyd added: “In the meantime, the people of Rotherham will not see any disruption to the way in which we delivery our day-to-day services for citizens.”
Her comments came after Rotherham councillor Chris Read releases a statement on behalf of the town’s labour group.
The statement said: “Since the publication of the Jay Report, the council has begun to take measures to improve the support for victims, bringing in new management, and to tighten licensing controls.
Sadly, as the report makes clear, we have not been able to do enough, quickly enough.”
Ms Casey will be giving evidence to the Communities Select Committee later this month.
Her report was ordered in the wake of the revelation that 1,400 children had been subjected to rape, violence and trafficking by gangs of mainly Asian men
Also set to appear before the committee next week are the Ofsted officials in charge during the period of abuse covered by the Jay report.