Reader letter: What part did local councillors play in Rotherham child abuse scandal?

Rotherham Town Hall
Rotherham Town Hall

In light of the recent revelations in Rotherham regarding child sexual abuse and trafficking, it is obvious that Rotherham Council as a body failed thousands of vulnerable children.

This is thankfully now being addressed with resignations from top officials and the imminent arrival of a government inspector.

As I write Paul Lakin the council leader has been summoned to Westminster to give an account of himself in front of a select committee.

What is NOT being addressed, however, is the part our local councillors played (or didn’t play) in this mass failing of duty.

Jo Burton of Anston served on the oversight committee tasked with ensuring children in Rotherham were protected so what was she doing all this time?

All too often our councillors serve on committees in order to claim extra allowances from the public purse, but just turn up and do nothing.

They keep quiet and stick to the party line to protect their allowances instead of challenging bad decisions.

Why was Jo Burton deemed competent to fulfil this task, and what was she doing to justify the trust people placed on her?

Jo Burton has dodged questions on this saying ‘it was a national problem.’

She even said that if lessons were learned the suffering caused would have been “worth it”!

How daft does she think we all are?

Coun Iain St John served as borough councillor and Lord Mayor during this period but what was he doing?

Whilst he was riding around Rotherham in a posh car attending functions, serious work was neglected!

Iain has offered to discuss this in private with me but this isn’t good enough!

I want him and others to publicly account for themselves.

Both these councillors and Coun Jane Havenhand of Dinnington attended a seminar as far back as 2005 which the Jay report says laid the facts bare so there was no excuse to not take action or speak out.

This is indicative of the culture of neglect and secrecy within Rotherham Council and is due to the political monopoly enjoyed by Labour for decades.

The only way forward is to break this monopoly and I for one will be voting accordingly.

Christine Sadler

North Anston