Rotherham MBC's children’s services department was not ‘child focused at all times,' an investigation commissioned by the council in response to a historical child sexual exploitation report has found.
The report into 15 individual cases noted that ‘one of the most striking features’ was the complete lack of focus on the welfare of children.
It read: ‘While it is not possible for senior managers to know and have oversight of every single case or the circumstances of every single child, it is nonetheless their responsibility to ensure that organisational culture and working practices are such that staff understand that services exist in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
‘The total absence of evidence of thinking what life was like for some of the children in cases A-O was one of the most striking features of the reviews of these cases.'
The report also highlighted that there was ‘widespread systematic failure’ within children’s social care at the council.
Nevertheless, it was also stressed that it was not possible to hold individual line managers to account because the organisation as a whole was ‘poorly-led, complex and chaotic.’
The report explained: ‘Within this context it is hard to see how the pursuit of individual first line managers could be justified – or indeed successful.’
Many examples of delays in responding appropriately to child protection concerns were also noted.
The report concluded that the handling of most of the cases A-O would be judged as ‘inadequate’ when measured against professional practice standards.