KEY former senior figures at Rotherham Borough Council refused to take part in a probe into conduct at the council during the town’s abuse scandal.
Long-serving council leader Roger Stone, who stepped down after the Jay Report was published and former children’s services chief Shaun Wright — later police and crime commissioner for South Yorkshire — “declined to participate” in the investigation, law firm Gowlings said.
Paul Lakin, who succeeded Mr Wright as Cabinet member for children’s services and was council leader between the Jay Report coming out and the Casey Report declaring the council “not fit for purpose” six months later, also failed to take part.
He cancelled an interview with Gowlings and did not re-schedule, a report published today, adding: “That is disappointing as these former members could have made a useful contribution to the investigation.”
Ged Fitzgerald, who was chief executive from 2000 to 2003 Mike Cuff, who held the role from 2004 to 2009 and Martin Kimber, who held the role until he stepped down in the wake of the Jay Report in 2014, also refused to be interviewed but agreed to
agreed to provide written responses to questionsk, the report said.
Alan Carruthers who was chief executive between 1999 and 2000, was interviewed.
He said he was was aware of the work of the youth project Risky Business, which had been running since 1997, but that no specific issues about CSE were brought to his attention during his tenure.
Report authors Gowlings said: “The project was still in its infancy and it appears that ‘child prostitution’ (as it was known then) did not have a high profile at a
senior level in the council.
“These issues were not raised with Mr Carruthers in writing nor did they feature in Executive Directors meetings.
“He assumed the project was working as problems were not being escalated to him.
“Mr Carruthers seemed unaware of the systemic issues that blighted the operation of Risky Business in its formative years, but there is no evidence that its findings or
the concerns it raised, were brought to his attention.”
Six reports about the scandal and its fallout are being discussed at Rotherham Town Hall today.
LIVE - Reports published into Rotherham Borough Council's handling of child sex abuse scandal