How Liverpool Should respond to the Rotherham Report

Today I have written to the Mayor of Liverpool suggesting that he needs to respond to what is coming out of Rotherham and the implications that it might have for Liverpool. I understand that following my letter Mayor Anderson has made a statement but at the time of posting this I have been unable to get a copy.

I want to make it clear that I making no suggestions about Mr Fitzgerald or suggesting any specifc actions that should be taken. I do feel however that as Mr Fitgerald’s involvement has been made public then he should be given the right to respond to what has been said publicy.Indeed I think he has a public duty to respond.

16, Dovedale Road,

Liverpool L18 1DW

07885 626913

 

Joe Anderson,

Mayor,

Liverpool City Council,

Dale Street,

Liverpool 1

29th. August 2014

Dear Joe,

Re:      Ged Fitzgerald and Rotherham

I am sure that you will have been as concerned as I have been about the affairs that have been unravelling before our eyes over the past few days about the Children’s Services in Rotherham.

I understand from the press that the Current Chief Executive of Rotherham has forwarded a copy of the report to all councils where former Rotherham senior staff are working.

I note also that the current President of Solace made clear that it was the responsibility of current employers of such staff to investigate what those staff members did whilst in Rotherham and also to examine whether that has implications for their current employers.

On that basis I would be grateful if you would let me know:

  1. Whether you have yet received the report;
  2. Whether you have yet been able to study it; and
  3. How you intend to take forward the suggested investigation.

I believe it is particularly important that such a review should take place quickly for 2 reasons

i) Professor Jay said that the content of the report which Mr Fitzgerald thought was, “anecdotal, used partial information and was methodologically unsound” was largely accurate and that children could have been protected if the report had been taken seriously. This could have implications for the way information is viewed and used within our own Council by senior staff; and

ii) In October Mr Fitzgerald is due to become the President of SOLACE, the Professional body for Chief Executives and other senior council staff and therefore the public face of all Chief Officers in England. It would clearly help him to have questions about his tenure in Rotherham cleared up before and if he assumes that role.

I look forward to hearing from you your proposals in this matter.

Kind Regards,

Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,

Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. . Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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6 Responses to How Liverpool Should respond to the Rotherham Report

  1. Catherine says:

    Richard,
    I’m sure you will have seen the statement by the Mayor in which he clearly conflates the Deal report (a later study) and the Home Office research report you refer to in your post.
    After specifically stating that he had “read and fully digested” Professor Jay’s report!
    It is an astonishing statement – I haven’t read the whole Jay report thoroughly, much less digested it , but it is crystal clear from even the most cursory skim that the Deal report and the Home Office report are two separate pieces of work, completed in two separate years.
    Mr Anderson’s statement also says that the Jay report is not specific about people etc. – when in fact it is. For instance, it clearly states (in the Chronology of Events on page 7) that the Chief Executive of Rotherham Borough Council and other senior officers met several times with the Police in June 2002 to discuss the Home Office report. That is clearly Mr Fitzgerald.
    If you consider that the researcher who undertook the work was treated in a very hostile way by senior officers of Rotherham council, including threatened gross misconduct, and that the report itself has now almost entirely disappeared, it is even more worrying. Mr Fitzgerald was clearly in post when all of this happened (he left in 2003, around the time of the Deal study… so it’s tempting to think that this statement is an attempt by someone to muddy the waters).
    But if this (bullying, changing data, making inconvenient reports disappear), is what they did in Rotherham under his watch, how do we know that he’s not shredding inconvenient documents, or worse, here as well??
    Could you please ask the Mayor for an explanation of his inaccurate and misleading statement.

  2. joedd says:

    As always excellent observation and writing from Catherine she has torn the mayors statement to pieces and made him look like the fool he is, think the by-word at the moment is. Unraveling.

    My disabled adult son was recently involved in an ‘incident’ while in the care of LCC, the injury required him to have six operations and there will be more in the future.
    Mayor Anderson chose to ignore my emails – I was lied to by Social Workers and bullied – in other words I was stone walled, hence my litigation.

    Mayor Anderson said under his leadership there will always be transparency – a statement that couldn’t be further from the truth….

  3. I think every council up and down the UK needs to check that it’s house in order. In Newcastle Operation Sanctury is trying to keep our youngsters safe.
    I blogged on my thoughts as a survivor of CSA myself http://thestrongestsmile.wordpress.com/2014/08/30/rotherham-report-my-thoughts/

    • Catherine says:

      You are right that is what should happen, and in the aftermath of this awful scandal, there will be attempts to do this, I would hope. But if there was proper scrutiny and accountability it wouldn’t be necessary, and tragedies of this kind would be nipped in the bud far earlier.
      The reality is that in many if not most metropolitan councils, there is insufficient scrutiny at all levels, and it is difficult if not impossible to rock the boat. That is certainly true in Liverpool,and having a directly elected mayor has made it considerably worse. Because in what is effectively a one-party city, councillors do not challenge the mayor, who is their party leader, and can give them jobs and take them back again on a whim. His Cabinet rubber stamp everything, and the Select Committee that is meant to hold him to account has yet to actually scrutinise anything properly. Localism in this case seems to mean a local dictatorship.
      To make matters worse, not a single elected councillor, including the mayor, appears to be willing to question let alone challenge the decisions and actions of senior officers either.They appear to think that since we pay these people such a lot of money, they must be good at what they do (without actually looking to see if they are), are always truthful (despite evidence to the contrary) and are never at fault (it’s always somebody or something else). At no costs must they be upset ….. for fear they might go somewhere else. The princely salaries are supposedly less than these paragons would earn in the private sector, although no private sector company I’ve ever heard of would continue to employ people who take no responsibility whatsoever for anything. They wouldn’t last five minutes in the real world.
      So whether it is the truly awful scandal in Rotherham, cosying up to and profiting from the private sector in senseless and expensive outsourcing exercises, selling parks off to favoured developers or anything else, senior officers appear to be immune to the consequences of their actions.
      The one institution that might make a difference – – the media, and specifically, the press – totally ignores regional issues unless they are massive scandals like this one. Which is a big part of why this took 16 years to expose. I can’t imagine that concerned local residents and professionals on the front line didn’t try to interest the press, both local and national, in what was going on, after getting nowhere with the police and the council. The local press will have been bullied by the council (which accounts for a fair proportion of their advertising income, in many regional cities), but the national press doesn’t have any excuse.
      If we are to see an end to complacency and corruption, the national media really must start paying a bit of attention to the huge number of people who live outside the M25,

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