Jonathan Werran 17 March 2015

All councils should be reinspected following Rotherham child abuse, say MPs

All local authorities in England should be examined by Ofsted to ensure they are tackling child sexual exploitation (CSE), a report from a panel of MPs is demanding.

A new report, which threatens to undermine the credibility of Ofsted, warns the inspection framework lacked sufficient focus on CSE.

The report, published by the communities and local government committee, also found its reporting regime risked giving local authorities false assurance that widespread abuse on the scale witnessed in Rotherham was not being repeated.

The report stated: ‘We have serious concerns that the shortcomings in Ofsted’s inspection arrangements until 2013 may mean that organised child sexual exploitation in other local authorities in England was missed. It should therefore inspect all local authorities in England.’

It judged Ofsted’s 2014 inspection of Rotherham in the aftermath of Professor Alexis Jay’s landmark report as ‘necessary and prudent’ but had been given the answers by the preceding independent review. ‘Eventually coming up with the right answer does not wipe out Ofsted’s past record,’ the report read.

Chair of the committee, Clive Betts, said: ‘The shortcomings in Ofsted’s inspection arrangements until 2013 leave serious concerns that organised child sexual exploitation in other local authorities may have been missed.’

‘Ofsted’s credibility is now on the line. It says its new inspection arrangements will pick up child sexual exploitation.’

‘Ofsted now needs to re-inspect all local authorities in England at the earliest opportunity to ensure councils have identified and are tackling child sexual exploitation in their communities.’

In response, an Ofsted spokeswoman said: 'We welcome the report and the committee’s recognition that the changes we have made since 2012 strengthen our ability to uncover where children are at risk.

‘We know we didn’t get it right historically in Rotherham and have apologised for those mistakes.’

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