A response to my Rotherham letter from the Mayor of Liverpool

Last Friday I wrote to the Mayor of Liverpool stressing my concerns at the way Liverpool had been brought into the Rotherham question.

I have just received a reply from him. This is not a criticism of speed because he is, apparently , on holiday. I also suspect that because he is on holiday he has not been able to be fully briefed about what has been said by who and when. However I do not believe that this reponse is adequate. But its up to the people of Liverpool to decide whether it is so I attach the response here:

Anderson, Joe (Mayor of Liverpool)
Today at 6:51 PM
Dear Councillor Kemp

Thank you for your letter dated 29 August, which I have only had the chance to fully digest. You will be aware that on Friday 29 August I issued a public statement in response to the independent report commissioned by Rotherham MBC. A copy of that statement is available on the council’s Liverpool Express website here http://www.liverpoolexpress.co.uk/statement-mayor-liverpool-joe-anderson-alexis-jay-report-cse-rotherham and I was truly shocked at the extent of the appalling circumstances which were revealed. For your reference, following publication of the independent report last week, noting Ged Fitzgerald’s role as former Chief Executive, I did speak directly with the author of the report Alexis Jay, and have also tried to speak with Rotherham MBC’s current Chief Executive, Martin Kimber.

Whilst I have made my position clear on this matter, I will address some of the inaccurate points in your letter. Your understanding of the communication sent from Rotherham MBC appears to be confused. Mr Kimber has stated in his response to the investigation that ‘it would be important for the current employers of those senior officers who worked in Rotherham’s child care services department during the critical period, and who are still involved in professional practice, to read the independent inquiry and form their own conclusions as to their role’. The City Council however has received no such communication from Rotherham MBC in the terms you have suggested. Further, I am certainly not aware of alleged comments you have recounted from the current President of Solace, although I have absolutely no intention of handling this matter in the manner in which you suggest.
I will be discussing the matter with Mr Fitzgerald and seeking clarification in relation to his role at the time. Notwithstanding, it is important to correct the wording you have used in your letter. Mr Fitzgerald has already indicated that he did not say that the report was ‘anecdotal, used partial information and methodologically unsound’ but that this was how professionals in Rotherham Council and South Yorkshire Police treated the research. I do not see how this has any implications for the way ‘information’ is dealt with in Liverpool, but if you can logically explain how you arrived at this conclusion, I would be grateful to receive it.

Whilst you may seek to sensationalise the issue and react in a kneejerk manner, as I have stated, I intend to talk in detail with Mr Fitzgerald when I return shortly from holiday and deal with the matter in full possession of all the facts.
Yours sincerely
Joe Anderson
Mayor of Liverpool


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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3 Responses to A response to my Rotherham letter from the Mayor of Liverpool

  1. Why you don.t all get the facts and then talk between your selves and get proper answer is beyond me. But like all Politicians you jump in with both feet to try and gain points

  2. joedd says:

    Correct, Mayor Anderson’s words are inadequate, I don’t see how you have sensationalised the issues.
    The Echo ran the story 27th August and still Mayor Anderson hasn’t spoken to Mr. Fitzgerald – says it all about this Labour administration ……………. I wonder when any of the 1400 young girls last had a holiday……

  3. Catherine says:

    Specific points:
    1) “on Friday 29 August I issued a public statement….” which was inaccurate and misleading, the version currently on Liverpool Express has been corrected.
    Don’t we deserve some kind of acknowledgement/explanation/apology for this? Clearly not.

    2) It’s true that Kimber stated “‘it would be important for the current employers of those senior officers who worked in Rotherham’s child care services department…” etc etc’, so Rotherham MBC haven’t suggested you may want to look at Fitzgerald and his role, but do you not think that it someone who has been accused of “blatant” failure of leadership, collective or otherwise, should be required to provide some explanations? Your argument here seems to be that since Rotherham limited their suggestions to people who worked in child care, then Liverpool should to., You are very obviously ignoring other parts of the report, in which Professor Jay makes it clear that the Home Office report “was effectively suppressed because some senior officers disbelieved the data it contained. This had led to suggestions of coverup”, and illustrates pretty conclusively that Fitzgerald would have been aware of this (she cites several specific meetings he attended in June 2003). And that’s without considering more recent allegations in the press about raids on offices, removal of data and files etc.
    How dare you use the Rotherham suggestion to limit the scope of what sounds like a quiet chat?

    3) And what exactly is it that the mayor has “absolutely no intention of handling” in the manner suggested, since what Kemp actually wrote was this:“I want to make it clear that I making no suggestions about Mr Fitzgerald or suggesting any specific 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 publicly. Indeed I think he has a public duty to respond”. So do most people, I think. But not the mayor, clearly.

    It sounds as if the mayor thinks a cosy private chat will do, to be followed, no doubt, by a statement that Fitzgerald is shocked etc…. but was totally unaware of the extent of the problem” or some equally disingenuous rubbish. That really won’t wash.
    And finally I really wish he would drop the digestive metaphors. What on earth does the ridiculous and idiotic assertion that he has “only had the chance to fully digest” the letter of 29 August. What else would he have wanted to do with it, given the chance? The mind boggles.

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