Rotherham: Lead officer for CSE inquiry announced

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A former chief social work advisor to the Scottish Government who led a high profile inspection of Looked After Children’s services in Jersey has been appointed to lead an inquiry into child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Rotherham.

With the support of the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives (SOLACE), Alexis Jay has been commissioned to lead the independent inquiry into CSE cases in Rotherham between 1997 and the present day.

Ms Jay has spent more than 30 years working in local councils in Edinburgh, Glasgow and West Central Scotland. She was director of social work and housing in West Dunbartonshire from 2000 to 2005.

In 2005, she was invited by the Scottish Government to set up the Social Work Inspection Agency (SWIA) – a government agency to inspect all aspects of local authority social services. In this role, she was chief inspector of social work for Scotland.

When SWIA was merged into the Care Inspectorate in 2011, she took up the newly-created post of chief social work adviser to Scottish Ministers, a post from which she retired in March 2013. Alexis also led the inspection of the States of Jersey’s Looked After Children services in 2011/2012.

She was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2012.

Ms Jay will be supported by Sheila Taylor, who will act as consultant to the inquiry.

Since July 2011, Sheila has been chief executive of NWG - a charitable network of more than 1,600 practitioners in the voluntary and statutory services working to tackle CSE and trafficking within the UK. NWG has also developed links across Europe, South East Asia, Africa and the USA to encourage sharing of information and ideas.

Sheila and her team of specialists provide support and expertise to the network – sharing best practice; influencing the development of national and local policy, and promoting training, prevention and disruption activities.

Sheila works closely with Ministers, children’s commissioners, national and local statutory and voluntary organisations, and is currently involved in a number of police investigations and serious case reviews relating to CSE.

Martin Kimber, chief executive of Rotherham Council, thanked the LGA and SOLACE for their advice and support in commissioning the inquiry.

“We are extremely pleased that we have secured the services of such high calibre individuals to undertake this crucial piece of work, and who feel able to dedicate the significant amount of time that will be required from their busy schedules,” he said.

“We are also appreciative of the efforts of both the LGA and SOLACE in securing such high calibre individuals.”