Child sexual exploitation in Rotherham: some issues for local government - Communities and Local Government Committee Contents


37. The Jay Report sets out in chilling detail how the authorities responsible for protecting children in Rotherham against sexual exploitation failed at least 1,400 children. On the basis of this inquiry it is clear that, although there was convincing evidence of organised child sexual exploitation in Rotherham, none of the parts of the system designed to scrutinise or challenge had any perceptible effect in identifying or challenging the prevailing insensitivity to child sexual exploitation within the Council. It was the press which stimulated action. One of the lessons for local government from the Jay Report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham will be the need to improve scrutiny and challenge within council governance. Our concerns about the effectiveness of scrutiny within local government were underlined on 4 November with the publication of the Best Value Inspection of London Borough of Tower Hamlets Report,[53] which revealed in the words of the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government "the breakdown of democratic scrutiny and accountability" within Tower Hamlets Council.[54] It will, of course, be a matter for our successor committee in the next parliament to determine its own programme but we see a case for an inquiry into the operation of scrutiny within local government in England.  

53   PWC, Best Value Inspection of London Borough of Tower Hamlets Report, 16 October 2014 Back

54   HC Deb, 4 November 2014, col 663 Back

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Prepared 18 November 2014