Thomas Bridge 14 July 2015

Rotherham’s health services ‘unclear’ about role one year after CSE revelations

Rotherham Council has been blasted for ‘unacceptable’ confusion in its health services, almost a year after a damning report into child protection failings.

A new review from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has voiced disappointment that there remains ‘lack of understanding’ surrounding roles and responsibilities in safeguarding at the town hall despite 12 months of ‘intense scrutiny’ surrounding child protection.

Rotherham was today urged to improve co-operation between its services, with inspectors warning a lack of joint working was likely to see ‘things go wrong’ for vulnerable children.

The study came after a slew of damning investigations into the borough prompted by estimations that at least 1,400 local children were sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013. A later report concluded Rotherham was continuing to ‘take more care of its reputation than it has of its most needy’, prompting the mass resignation of its leader and entire cabinet.

However inspectors praised positive practice at the borough surrounding contraceptive and sexual health services alongside emergency work at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.

CQC’s deputy chief inspector, Sue McMillan said: ‘We’re disappointed that despite the intense scrutiny on child protection in Rotherham and the help packages that have been made available, services with a key role in child safeguarding are unclear about their responsibilities. While progress has been made, it is too slow and more is required.

‘This is unacceptable and we will check progress against our recommendations. These agencies need respond quickly to this report to ensure that no child is let down by the services designed to protect them.

‘We know from decades of inquires that things go wrong for vulnerable children when services do not work together and this is crucial in keeping children safe.’

Rotherham MBC has been approached for comment.

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