Agenda item



To put questions, if any, to Cabinet Members and Chairmen (or their representatives) under Standing Order No. 7(1) and 7(3).


(1)  Councillor Sansome asked, given the need to improve care in the face of Tory cuts for the Council and NHS, could the Cabinet Member give an update on health and social care integration and the partnerships needed to make that happen? 


Councillor Roche, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, confirmed that the Government cuts were having an impact on the services being provided.  However, in that context good progress had been made, but there was still a way to go.  He confirmed the Care Act 2014 had set out the need for health and social care to work together for better outcomes for customers.


The key point about the Act was for the Clinical Commissioning Group and the Council to come together to produce a spending plan using the Better Care Fund. 


Part of this was about developing partnerships and was pleased to report that the Chief Executive Officers and also the Chairs of the Clinical Commissioning Group and the Hospital Trust have stated independently that their relationship with the Council was the best it had ever been.


RMBC Adult Care and Housing had embarked on a number of joint service initiatives with Health. These include the following:-


Better Care Fund: This was a joint funding agreement between Health and Social Care to transform services through integration initiatives including the following:


RMBC Vulnerable Persons Team. Located in Adult Social Care: Nationally recognized as a leading initiative to improve services and support to vulnerable adults. Including adult survivors of Child Sexual Exploitation. The Team was funded via the Better Care Fund, Public Health and the Council. This was one of the smallest teams within RMBC whose input in supporting child sexual exploitation survivors had resulted in the successful prosecutions against perpetrators of child sexual exploitation.


The Perfect Locality: This was a joint development exercise by RMBC with Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humberside NHS Foundation Trust, the Rotherham Foundation Trust, and Rotherham CCG to improve services. Through working in partnership with Health the following improvements were intended to come through:-


·           Reduction in citizens being bounced around the system.

·           Maximum choice and control for citizens to remain as independent as possible.

·           Keeping people safe when needed and doing so in a personalised framework.

·           Good support for carers.

·           Timely assessments and reviews.

·           Promoting well-being.

·           Reduction in costs of care and particularly residential care placement.


In all there were eighteen funding streams in the Better Care Fund which were working to improve the health of Rotherham people.


Another service was the Council’s Occupational Therapy Service, jointly commissioned with Health to provide an integrated service for people across the borough with physical disability.


Finally, a recent meeting was held with the Hospital Trust and the Clinical Commissioning Group to plan a locality based approach with seven key hubs where a joint service was intended to be offered with one named contact person for the user.  It was expected that this programme would be rolled out quickly starting with a pilot in the central area of Rotherham.


Councillor Sansome welcomed the detailed response from the Cabinet Member and hoped to receive regular updates on the progress of Adult Social Care in light of the austerity cuts.


(2)  Councillor Hoddinott asked what percentage of secondary schools and what percentage of primary schools in Rotherham delivered age-appropriate sex and relationship education? 


Councillor Watson, Deputy Leader, confirmed that the information the Local Authority had to make a judgement on the percentage of primary and secondary school which delivered age appropriate sex and relationship education was taken from the schools that had either achieved a bronze or silver award in the Rotherham Healthy Schools Accreditation Scheme from 2013 to the present day.


He was confident that this currently stood at 69% of Primary Schools and 75% of Secondary Schools.


Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) was a very broad area including such areas as anti-bullying, healthy relationships, friendships, on-line consent, Child Sexual Exploitation, sexting and in secondary schools this would include such subjects as sexually transmitted infections, contraception and pornography.


Schools did not have to teach SRE, except the element outlined in the science curriculum. 


Where schools did teach SRE they had to have a policy and it should be delivered in an age appropriate way.


The Local Authority offered support and advice to schools on policy development and good practice in curriculum delivery as well as network meetings and training events. This had included:-


·           Since September 2015 the Authority had offered schools specific support with the delivery of anti-bullying programmes.  This had been well received by schools and the Authority were seeking to continue this support during the next academic year.


·           Primary and Special schools also had access to the Rotherham Health School scheme of work for Personal, Social and Citizenship education and there were relationship units for children aged five to eleven.


·           ‘The Rollercoaster – The ups and Downs of Puberty’ resource which helped staff to deliver puberty work which was often a topic which schools found challenging.


·           Childline delivered a session to the majority of primary schools to Year 5 and 6 on the types of abuse including sexual abuse.


·           All secondary schools, Pupil Referral Units and Special Schools had accessed the Theatre in Education performances for awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation.


·           Barnardo’s were offering ‘Real Love Rocks’ – four one hour sessions covering healthy relationships to primary and secondary schools. Discussion regarding use of primary version in special schools was being considered.


In a supplementary question Councillor Hoddinott expressed her disappointment that schools did not have to carry out this education, but would have liked to have seen 100% of schools delivering the education in order to protect young people.  A discussion was held that morning in the Improving Lives Select Commission and asked if the Cabinet Member would be willing to support the Commission and attend the next meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission as part of the Prevent  and CSE Strategy and how to work with schools and improve the work schools did with the current SRE part of the curriculum.


Councillor Watson, Deputy Leader, confirmed that earlier this year he had written to the Secretary of State stressing the importance of SRE education in schools and asking for this to be made compulsory.  He confirmed he was more than willing to accept the invitation from the Improving Lives Select Commission.


(3)  Councillor Pitchley asked if there had been any developments in devising an ageing well policy, if any progress was being made and how were carers and users involved?


Councillor Roche, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, explained that some authorities divided their overall strategy approach into a starting well, a living well and an ageing well programme.  Rotherham had not got down that route, but the two areas that the Cabinet Member was responsible for – Public Health and Adult Social Care – had already in place many of the components of an Ageing Well Programme found in those local authorities. 


The Casey Report referred to taking into account the voices of the people more and like other Directorates, Public Health and Adult Social Care have taken this on board.  To that end senior officers and the Cabinet Member had met with a wide range of groups such as the Pensioner Action Group, Dementia Association, Age UK, the partially sighted group and Speak Out to seek their views and make it clear to them that the Council intended to consult with them on all plans.


It was recognised that Rotherham, like other local authorities, had an increasing ageing population which would increase in age with a wide range of other services.  Steps were already being taken to develop a strategic approach to a housing policy for the aged looking carefully at the future needs and requirements, but again consulting local people.


Public Health and Adult Social Care have agreed to review and put together an integrated and holistic strategy on what was already being done in terms of the healthy ageing approach.  The review would also seek to identify a framework of where it liked to be in the future and would be engaging carers and customers once practice had been explored and local mapping completed.


(4)  Councillor Reeder asked whether there were any domestic properties in Rotherham that were exempt from paying Council Tax or had a reduction in it because they had a prayer room in their property or on their land.


Councillor Alam, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Budgeting, confirmed that the Council Tax legislation did not have any discounts/reductions for a prayer room.   


(5)  Councillor Reeder asked if the Council still had the multihog, where it had been used in the last three months and for how long?


Councillor Sims, Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety, confirmed that the multihog had been available to undertake urgent repairs to potholes in the Area Assembly areas as follows:-


Area Assembly




Rother Valley South and Wentworth Valley

16th November 2015

11th December 2015

Rotherham North and Wentworth North

14th December 2015

22nd January 2016

Rotherham South and Wentworth South

25th January 2016

19th February 2016

Rother Valley West and Rother Valley South

22nd February 2016

18th March 2016


In a supplementary question Councillor Reeder asked if she could have any input to where the multihog was used.


Councillor Sims, Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety, confirmed the multihog was assigned to areas where it had been requested to deal with pothole repairs.  If Councillor Reeder had suggested areas for the mutlihog if she passed on the details the Cabinet Member would endeavour to follow these up.


(6)  Councillor Reeder queried why at the end of every street were there road works, but no work going on.


Councillor Sims, Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety, confirmed that highway works were co-ordinated to keep disruptions to motorists to a minimum.  Rotherham Council’s own works were programmed to be completed as efficiently as possible taking into account working restrictions and operational delivery.  The Cabinet Member was happy to investigate any individual cases if the details were passed on.


(7)  Councillor Reeder asked who was paying for the roadworks on Doncaster Road and Clifton Lane at the Park’s entrance, how much it was costing and would it ever be finished?


Councillor Sims, Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety, confirmed that the road works were being paid for by grant awards made to the Council through the Sheffield City Region Regional Growth Fund under the Sustainable Transport Exemplar Programme (STEP), as the scheme aimed to improve the facilities at the junction for cycling and pedestrians. The works were now substantially complete. The carriageway approaches to the junction would also be resurfaced at the same time to avoid the need to revisit the area in future, and the works were due to get underway next week and last for two weeks. The resurfacing element would be funded directly by the Council’s highway maintenance funds. This element represented approximately £90k of the total cost of £470k, with the STEP fund providing the rest of the funding.


(8)  Councillor Reeder referred to the roundabouts at Masbrough and Parkgate which had just been marked out again and were totally confusing.  Had something come from the Government or someone at a desk who did not live in Rotherham who never used roads and had a bit of spare time on their hands because that was what it seemed like.


Councillor Sims, Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety, confirmed that the markings at both roundabouts were changed primarily to improve traffic flow through the respective junctions. In the case of Taylors Lane (Parkgate) roundabout the changes were also required to accommodate a one lane exit from the roundabout onto Taylors Lane when a new traffic light controlled pedestrian crossing was installed.


Councillor Reeder also contacted Streetpride direct to ask the same question and that an Officer from the Transportation Unit responded on the 17th February, 2016 by email and included copies of the road marking drawings associated with the junctions in question.


(9)  Councillor Reeder asked if the Council had received the rest of the money owed by the group who took the Council to Court over the selective licensing and costs awarded to the Council.


Councillor Wallis, Cabinet Member for Housing, confirmed that the Council successfully defending the claim made by Rotherham Action Group Limited at Judicial Review in the High Court, sitting in Leeds, the company were ordered in May 2015 to pay the Council £23,128.40 in costs. To date a total of £18,663.72 had been recovered leaving a balance of £4,464.68. The company currently had no further assets.


In a supplementary question Councillor Reeder asked if it was likely the Council would receive the rest of the money.


Councillor Wallis, Cabinet Member for Housing, explained that this depended on whether the company had any further assets, but it was highly unlikely and a judgment would have to be made on the Council using funds to chase a debt it may never recover.  Only limited information could be shared, but the Council were encouraging Rotherham Action Group to fulfil their moral and legal duty to the Council.


(10) Councillor Reeder asked if the Council could explain what community cohesion meant to them and how much money from the tax payers of Rotherham had been spent on this in the last three years and could a report be provided on what the money had been spent on.


Councillor Read, Leader, replied that the Local Government Association described a cohesive community as one where:-


               There was a common vision and sense of belonging for all communities.

               The diversity of people’s different backgrounds and circumstances were appreciated and positively valued.

               Those from different backgrounds had similar life opportunities.

               Strong and positive relationships were being developed between people from different backgrounds in the workplace, in schools and within neighbourhoods.


The Council had no specific budget for community cohesion and suggested this may be an area that Scrutiny may wish to look at the various budget lines and looked forward to taking forward any recommendations around this.


In a supplementary question Councillor Reeder asked if figures could be provided on what had been spent over the last three years as this was taxpayers’ money.


Councillor Read, Leader, explained there was no specific budget line for community cohesion and from information already shared today it would appear that there was £1.6 million of Council activity which it was thought related to community cohesion.  A request had been made for Scrutiny to look at this in more depth and come forward with recommendations.


(11)  Councillor Reeder asked if the Council could tell her please how much of Council taxpayers’ money, at these times if cuts to all services, were spent on a High Court Injunction to stop the problem of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham being published in the newspapers?


Councillor Read, Leader, confirmed that if the question referred to an Injunction by the Chair of the Rotherham Local Safeguarding Board in 2012, in respect of redactions made by the author of a Serious Case Review, the cost of external legal advice was £343.75 plus VAT, in addition to the cost of in-house legal resources.


(12)  Councillor Reeder stated that, having read the Casey Report, it referred to the Cabinet and three Advisors to the Cabinet and how effective they were.  This also included Chairs and Vice-Chairs and the amount of money they were getting out of the public purse and a recommendation was they should cease.  It is not time that it did?


Councillor Read, Leader, confirmed that Cabinet Advisers were referred to in the Casey Report, but could find no reference to Chairs and Vice-Chairs.


He confirmed that since he was appointed Leader on 4th March, 2015 and appointed his Cabinet no Advisers had been appointed.


In a supplementary question Councillor Reeder asked if Advisers would be appointed again in the future and would this return to jobs for the boys.


Councillor Read, Leader, confirmed there would be no return to Cabinet Advisers.


(13)  Councillor Reeder asked, with an average increase of 39% over the last seven years to a sum of £129,301 in 2014 to the lesbian and gay society, what was the sum given in 2015 and could the accounts for the previous years be seen?


Councillor Alam, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Budgeting, confirmed the Council had never paid any payments over the last seven years to a group called the lesbian and gay society.


In a supplementary question Councillor Reeder suggested this may have been a company called Shield. 


Councillor Alam, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Budgeting, confirmed that a sum of £129,301 was paid by the Council during the 2013/14 financial year under a contractual arrangement to a social enterprise called Shield and the details of these could be found via the Charities Commission or Companies House.


(14)  Councillor Cowles asked if it was agreed that the production of 600 pages of documentation on a Thursday evening to be read, even briefly, by the following Wednesday was both a futile and facile exercise and with 63 Members an estimated 36,000 pieces of paper was printed.  Surely this did not make sense in this day and age and suggested Members be provided with a few pieces of paper pointing to the start and the end of a section.  All the paperwork was available electronically and suggested the printing of such papers be abandoned and asked the Leader if he would go away and look at this.


Councillor Read, Leader, confirmed Members did receive their papers in both electronic and hard copy means, but expressed some concern if for example the budget papers were top and tailed in a way being described without allowing all Members to see the full document.  He believed the Council would then be failing in its transparency and ethics.  To be truthful the agenda papers were substantial, but they had been through Scrutiny the Cabinet and out for public consultation so Members had had the chance to engage with a lot of the documentation for a longer period of time.


In a supplementary question Councillor Cowles echoed his earlier point about the number of printed pages and how this could be accessed electronically so why did the Council need to go to all this effort to print this paper.  It did not make sense.


Councillor Read, Leader, explained that Members could choose to access the papers electronically, but by not supplying the details the Council would be failing in its transparency duty.  He did take the point about the substantial number of pages being printed.


(15)  Councillor Cowles asked, following the statements made on Look North by ladies from agencies involved in CSE at the time, stating that they had informed all the relevant parties, Police, Officers and Members, was he still determined to continue to provide 100% support to those Members identified as not fit for purpose?


Councillor Read, Leader, confirmed that everyone watched with horror at reliving some of those experiences of last week.


The Leader was not aware of any specific allegations against any continuing Member who was not suspended from the Labour Group at this moment in time.  He had revisited the Casey Report last night and the phrase “not fit for purpose” and confirmed he had never given his support to any Elected Member who was deemed not fit for purpose.


In a supplementary question Councillor Cowles confirmed the Leader could defend the undefendable, but pointed out the Leader had said the positives from this would be seeing justice done.  This was not true as it was Orwellian, but it was clear that Labour Councillors were more equal than others and had never been accountable or responsible for anything that failed and asked if the Leader agreed.


Councillor Read, Leader, pointed out that you only had to look at the people that had lost their jobs at this Council to see that this statement was not true.


(16)  Councillor Cowles referred to HS2, should it go ahead, where would this party be voting, with regard to the siting of the proposed station, Meadowhall or Sheffield City centre.


Councillor Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy confirmed that in response to the consultation on High Speed Two Phase Two the Council responded in support of High Speed Two and its importance to the Sheffield City Region (SCR), and further, for the location of the proposed South Yorkshire hub station at Sheffield Meadowhall, which was the Government’s stated preferred location for the station in South Yorkshire. This position would continue to be supported and would ask Government to confirm the Meadowhall station location when making its final decision in late 2016.


(17)  Councillor Cowles stated that Members had been informed that the preparation of plans to tackle the ongoing mess in Eastwood would take up to four months to prepare and asked was this timescale not only an insult to Members’ intelligence but also another kick in the teeth for the long suffering residents of the area?


Councillor Sims, Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety, confirmed that whilst there had been some improvement in Eastwood with the number of fly-tipping incidents falling, and a good take-up of the Selective Licensing Scheme, it was recognised that there was further work to do.  Officers were working on a new approach which would involve the Council’s Street Cleansing Enforcement Teams, Education and the voluntary sector, and it was anticipated that this would be available not later than the end of the month; it would not take four months to prepare.  Members should note that this would be the start of a process, and that it would not solve the problems in Eastwood overnight, changing patterns of behaviour could take some time.


At the same time, there were two other pieces of work that would have a wider impact on environmental quality.  Firstly, officers were reviewing the way in which Street Cleansing and Grounds Maintenance Services were provided and, secondly there was a review of (environmental) enforcement.  Because those work streams would probably have an impact on the scope of staff roles and responsibilities, there would be the need to consult on any proposals that emerged, therefore, it was expected that the work would be completed and implemented by the end of the June.  This may be where the confusion had arisen.


In a supplementary question Councillor Cowles was pleased to hear that it would not take four months and may be where the confusion had crept in.  However, he was concerned that people kept talking about improvements and there were no metrics that showed what these improvements were.  He had talked to the people in Eastwood and it would appear that any reduction was caused by apathy where people were so fed up at reporting issues that they no longer reported and, therefore, people thought that things were improving when in actual fact they were not.  He wanted to ensure that there was no complacency in this Council and that Eastwood was not taken for granted just because it was there.  It was a problem and it needed to be dealt with to avoid the problem spreading anywhere else.


Councillor Sims, Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety, confirmed she agreed with the comments made by Councillor Cowles and assured him that there would be no complacency and that she would make things happen sooner rather than later.


(18)  Councillor Currie asked why the minutes of the Licensing Board/Committee were not in the White Book anymore?


Councillor Read, Leader, confirmed that the Council’s Licensing function was placed under the control of the Government appointed Commissioners in February 2015 and was no longer under the control of this Council meeting.


In a supplementary question Councillor Currie asked if this was the case why were the Audit Committee minutes included when Audit was also under the control of the Commissioners.


Councillor Read, Leader, confirmed Audit fell outside the control of the Commissioners and was an executive arrangement of the Council.


(19) Councillor Currie asked were the Special
Responsibility Allowances of the Chair of Audit and Licensing at a reduced rate whilst these functions were in control of the Commissioners?


Councillor Read, Leader, confirmed that the Special Responsibility Allowances for the Chair and Vice-Chair of Licensing were currently paid at 50% as per the decision of the Commissioners and to take effect from 1st September, 2015.


However, the Special Responsibility Allowance to the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Audit Committee was paid in full with effect from the Annual Meeting in May, 2015.


(20)  Councillor Currie asked what the estimated cost to the Council was of the European Referendum?


Councillor Read, Leader, confirmed that the cost of the EU Referendum would be met entirely by Central Government, as was the case with national elections.  Work was currently ongoing so it was unable to provide a cost at this time.


(21)  Councillor Currie stated his concern that children's learning was disrupted by using schools as polling stations.  Had any alternatives been looked at?


Councillor Watson, Deputy Leader, thanked Councillor Currie for his question and confirmed the one advantage was that the elections were known a long time in advance, apart from the referendum.  Lots of schools that were used as polling stations often used the day in their inset quota to avoid any education disruption.


At the last election the Council used 132 polling stations of which 34% (46) were schools.  At the last election, only 29 schools closed on polling day.  Alternative arrangements were being considered, but in some areas of the borough the use of a school was the only option.


There would be a limited number of elections between now and 2020 because of the change to the Council’s electoral cycle from elections by thirds to whole Council elections every four years.


In a supplementary question Councillor Currie asked that the arrangements continue to be looked at to seeking alternative venues to schools as polling stations.


Councillor Watson, Deputy Leader, confirmed that this would continue to be monitored.


(22)  Councillor Currie stated that it was encouraging to see more investment into improving the roads.  Could the reporting tool used by Sheffield be looked at to give the public an increased involvement?


Councillor Sims, Cabinet Member for Waste, Roads and Community Safety, confirmed that the Highway Service would contact Sheffield City Council to see how their customers reported highway issues, how this compared to the Council’s current reporting methods to determine if there were opportunities to improve service delivery.  The Authority wanted to make it as easy as possible for customers to contact it.


In a supplementary comment Councillor Currie welcomed this as the reporting in Sheffield was internet based and very specific.  He had also asked the former Strategic Director to look into this, but he had since left the authority.


(23)  Councillor Reynolds asked who and what was exempt from Council Tax?


Councillor Alam, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Budgeting, confirmed that Section 4 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 detailed the exemptions from Council Tax that may be applied by a local authority:-


Class B - unoccupied property owned by a charity

Class D – unoccupied property due to person being in prison

Class E – unoccupied due to person having gone to live in care

Class F – Council Tax payer deceased, no probate granted

Class G – occupation prohibited by law

Class H – dwelling held for a Minister of Religion

Class I – person living elsewhere to receive personal care

Class J – person living elsewhere to provide personal care

Class K – dwelling left empty by a student

Class L – mortgagee in possession

Class M – student halls of residence

Class N - dwellings occupied only by full time students, school or college leavers or by certain spouses or dependents of students

Class O – UK armed forces accommodation

Class P – visiting forces accommodation

Class Q – property left empty by a bankrupt person

Class R – unoccupied caravan pitch or boat mooring

Class S – occupied only by persons under 18 years old

Class T – unoccupied annexe to an unoccupied dwelling

Class U – dwellings occupied only by severely mentally impaired persons

Class V – main residence of a person with diplomatic immunity/privilege

Class W – occupied annexe to an occupied dwelling


Special conditions applied to each of these exemption classes. Further information and details with regard to those special conditions could be obtained from the Council’s Local Taxation Service.      


(24)  Councillor Reynolds referred to the fact that he had had no reply at all to his question to the Chief Executive of Magna regarding the viability of Magna following the advice of Councillor Lelliott and asked why there was such hostility.


Councillor Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, advised, in response to the question regarding the viability of the Magna Trust, that the Trust’s accounts were public documents that could be obtained from Companies House and that the latest accounts for the year ending 29th March, 2015 were available.


In a supplementary question Councillor Reynolds asked why he could not be given this basic factual information.


Councillor Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, reiterated that Magna was a private company and not one owned by the Council and which was why it had to file its accounts at Companies House.


(25)  Councillor Reynolds asked whether the Labour Councillors were still in denial in relation to Child Sexual Exploitation.


Councillor Read, Leader, confirmed he did not believe they were.  He was clear a year ago when he took on the Leader role that if he found anyone that was he did not want anything to do with them.  He gave his assurances that things would not return to the way they were before the Commissioners and that this Council would be run very different from what it had been previously.


(26)  Councillor Parker asked if the Leader and the Council would join with him in supporting and thanking all the young ladies that had endured the trauma of child sexual exploitation but then had been so brave to stand up in Court and give evidence which had resulted in bring these barbaric individuals to justice.


Councillor Read, Leader, confirmed he did support Councillor Parker and that these young ladies were truly remarkable and inspirational and hoped more people would be brought to justice in the future.


In a supplementary comment Councillor Parker pointed out that these young ladies deserved all the help and support they required now and into the future.


(27)  Councillor Parker asked if the Leader could tell the people of Rotherham if the Council was assisting all the young ladies and their families now that the trial was completed and how it was assisting them to move on with their lives.


Councillor Read, Leader, thanked Councillor Parker for his question and confirmed the Council was.


All the witnesses involved in ‘Operation Clover’ had been supported by South Yorkshire Police, Council Officers and colleagues in the voluntary sector. The quality of the support available had been commended by Judge Sarah Wright, as she passed sentence on all those found guilty of a number of heinous crimes against children last week. This marked the culmination of the first part of the ongoing Clover Operation, which was continuing into 2017.


The Council would continue to support victims and survivors of CSE and other forms of sexual abuse, and the Leader was pleased to confirm that to date, around 500 people have benefited from the new counselling and therapeutic services the Council had established, together with voluntary sector partners, since October 2014.   


It must be recognised that the support offered was needs-led and therefore dictated by the individuals or families accessing it. Whilst the Council was actively encouraging people to come forward, it recognised that it could take months or years before any individual was ready to take the first significant step in seeking help to come to terms with their abuse. Post-disclosure support and therapy could again take months and years before that individual could move on with their lives.


Support was taking many different forms: case studies included families who had needed to relocate where support for things such as organising the logistics of relocation, settling children into new schools and changing utilities had been needed. Others had required more therapeutic intervention, counselling, group work and art therapy.


In a supplementary question Councillor Parker explained the aim of his question was purely to get an assurance that these young ladies would not be forgotten now the trial was over.  They were going to need support for some time and did not wish to see them forgotten.


Councillor Read, Leader, associated himself with those remarks and confirmed they would need support for a long time and potentially for the rest of their lives.  What was required were permanent arrangements in place with rolling contracts to ensure the support was available.


(28)  Councillor Parker asked, now that the present sexual exploitation trial in Sheffield was resolved and the verdict was known, could the Leader please tell the people of Rotherham how the investigation into the misconduct of some Councillors both past and present was proceeding.


Councillor Read, Leader, thanked Councillor Parker for his question, but pointed out he was not in a position to disclose anything further other than what was already in the public domain as there were still investigations ongoing.


In a supplementary question Councillor Parker asked for reassurance that investigations were ongoing and that Councillors, both past and present, would be held to account based on material included in the Jay Report as there were clearly Councillors that did know and did nothing at any time and they should be brought up on a charge of misconduct in a public office.


Councillor Read, Leader, confirmed that where there were any allegations of a criminal nature of any former or sitting Councillor these would be investigated separately from any involvement of the Leader


(29)  Councillor John Turner asked would the ruling party join with the opposition to stop the hedonistic increase in building and thence population in Rotherham?  The growth was producing reduced green space, increased pollution, doubling premature death, increased accidents, road congestion, schools, hospitals and surgeries saturation.  Rotherham had already exceeded its critical mass.


Councillor Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy, confirmed that without sufficient new homes and jobs Rotherham would not prosper. The Authority would not provide the new homes its residents needed. The Authority would not secure the jobs that Rotherham and the City Region wanted to attract. Investment would go elsewhere. To meet those pressing needs, the Council had adopted the Local Plan Core Strategy setting targets for new homes and jobs over the next 15 years.


The Council had fought hard at the public inquiry into the Core Strategy to secure an appropriate target. It had achieved a growth target that was significantly less than the development lobby wanted and the independent inspector initially proposed. Developers wanted the previous regional plan target of 24,000 new homes for Rotherham. The inspector proposed 17,000. The Authority had successfully argued for a target of 14,000 new homes. This gave a challenging but achievable target for growth that minimised the loss of greenfield land, but would ensure that the local infrastructure was sustainable for the highway network and educational places.


In a supplementary comment Councillor John Turner suggested that Members in the future, when they found themselves in many traffic junctures/accidents or frustrations with the health care, to remember him briefly and his comment about critical mass and keeping Rotherham as a wholesome place.