Commons’ Communities and Local Government Committee report has called for a nationwide review of child protection systems as it was claimed that organised child sex abuse is likely prevalent across England.
The report said Rotherham Council and Ofsted had “failed” the targeted victims in the town and suggested the council’s “divorced from reality” protection policies have enabled the abuse to go on.
Stressing that the town was not an outlier for abuse, the MPs said all councils must review child protection policies.
The inquiry of MPs was prompted by Professor Alexis Jay’s report, which revealed that there have been up to 1,440 children who got abused in Rotherham between 1997 and 2013.
Their report investigated the recommended lessons for local government in the wake of Prof Jay’s investigation.
The chairman of the committee Labour MP Clive Betts said Ofsted failed to lift the lid on Rotherham’s inability to deal with sexual exploitation despite repeated inspections and so there are serious questions regarding their inspections that they must answer.
The town’s councillors have also been criticised for their ineffective scrutiny and their child protection policies that were “divorced from reality.”
An investigation into the council’s missing files has also been called with Mr Betts saying that past and present council officers should be held accountable for their actions.
Ofsted said that a “more rigorous inspection framework” has been introduced already. Accepting how their past inspections failed to deliver, they said in a statement that they welcome “the opportunity to give evidence to the committee”.
Rotherham Council leader Paul Lakin has welcomed the report revealing that the council has started an internal inquiry into the missing files but there’s plan to let an external audit team complete the task.