Rotherham children’s services now rated ‘good’

Children’s services in Rotherham have been “transformed” since the town was rocked by a child sexual exploitation scandal, Ofsted has said.

Rotherham Council received a “good” rating following an inspection in November, three years after the watchdog found “widespread and serious failures”.

At least 1,400 children were subject to sexual exploitation in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013, an independent report found in 2014.

Ofsted said the council’s services to children in need of help and protection were “now good” and the local authority had “taken a systematic and rigorous approach to improvement”.

“The quality and impact of services for children are transformed,” it said.

“Risks of 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.”

Inspectors did, however, find that the council’s support for children in care needed improvement because assessments were “not always up to date” and some did not reflect “sufficiently the complexity of needs”.

“The local authority is working to address these areas of provision that require improvement,” Ofsted said.

Rotherham abuse survivor Sammy Woodhouse speaking to young people at West Walsall Academy

Video: Rotherham abuse survivor Sammy Woodhouse shares her story

Sammy Woodhouse, who was a victim of the Rotherham grooming scandal, has called for a new law to pardon children forced to commit crimes by their abusers.

Revelations about the widespread sexual exploitation of children in the Yorkshire town sparked a national outcry, culminating in the 2014 Jay Report and its damning verdict on failures by the council.

The report’s findings triggered the resignation of the council’s leader, Roger Stone, soon after it was published.

Rotherham’s police and crime commissioner, Shaun Wright, who was the councillor in charge of children’s services in the town between 2005 and 2010, also resigned in the following weeks.

Nicky Morgan, the education secretary at the time, said she was “appalled” by the exploitation exposed by the report and announced an early inspection of child protection by Ofsted.

The watchdog later declared the services in Rotherham were “inadequate” and there were “widespread or serious failures that result in children being harmed or at risk of harm”.

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A later report by Louise Casey was highly critical of the council, saying it was “not fit for purpose”, leading the entire political leadership to resign and the Government to step in.

In its latest assessment Ofsted said there was now a “robust response” to risk and a multi-agency team was able to focus on complex abuse work and identify and support children at risk of sexual exploitation.