UKIP councillors will call later today for a public inquiry into the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal.
Two motions going before today’s full council meeting will discuss the contents of six independent reports into the council’s conduct during the time covered by the Jay Report.
There were claims of a “whitewash” after independent investigators ruled the council had failed to get a grip on CSE due to “systemic failure” and no individual former officer or councillor should be held responsible.
A petition set up by a CSE survivor known as Elizabeth, which demands a fresh criminal investigation into police officers’ and council officers’ actions, has attracted more than 16,000 supporters.
Now UKIP is set to call for council support for a “full public inquiry, to be conducted by an agreed independent body, of the period covered by the Jay Report.
The inquiry should have the authority to investigate everyone “from all functions and departments”, in both the public and private sector.
Proposer Cllr Allen Cowles will argue this is in order “to identify those who were aware of what was taking place and who took little or no action to prevent further harm to victims and to make them both responsible and accountable for their actions”.
Council leader Cllr Chris Read will propose a rival motion on behalf of the Labour ruling group, praising survivors’ bravery, vowing to support efforts to bring perpretrators to justice, bidding to the Home Office for extra support for helping survivors and expressing the council’s “deep sorrow” for the failings of the past.
The motion also expresses “great disappointment” that no disciplinary action was recommended in the investigation report by law firm Gowlings, and reveals that Cllr Read has written to the Government calling for a change in the law to prevent former officers who overseen “systematic failures” being let off the hook in future.
The full council meeting will be held at the Town Hall at 2pm today.
You can see and sign Elizabeth's petition here.