Tuesday, September 9, 2014

News: Rotherham Council chief quits

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Martin Kimber has announced that he will step down as chief executive of Rotherham Council, two weeks after the publication of a damning Independent Inquiry from Alexis Jay into child sexual exploitation in the town, and two weeks after Cllr. Roger Stone stepped down as leader of the council.

A town planner, Kimber (58) joined Rotherham Council in 2009, having previously had roles at Wigan Council as director of Environmental Services and director of Planning and Development and planning roles at Barnsley Council. He took over at Rotherham from retiring chief executive Mike Cuff.

At a recent cabinet meeting, Mr Kimber again apologised unreservedly for those failings to the children, young people and their families whose lives had been affected. He also reported how the significant improvements outlined in the report would be continued in the future, and how the Council should move to swiftly implement all the report's recommendations.

Having previously told the press that he was "part of the solution, not part of the problem," the man in the top job has now agreed to step down from the £160,000 a year role in December.

Martin Kimber, chief executive of Rotherham Council, said: "The Council has now decided what it must do to give the best possible protection for the children and young people of Rotherham. I believe that new leadership will enable the town to recover more quickly from the events of the last two weeks, and strongly signal a new beginning at this critical time in its recovery. The time is therefore now right for me to leave.

"I will be sorry to leave Rotherham but firmly believe that this will leave the Council in a stronger position in the future. It is therefore the right thing to do in the interests of the people of the town."

At the same cabinet meeting, Cllr. Dominic Beck, cabinet member for Business Growth and Regeneration took the opportunity to suggest that the Council must ensure that "no corner went unchecked or stone unturned to provide justice to the victims nor must there be no let-up in the pursuit of the wrong doers of the past and of the perpetrators of child sexual exploitation."

Cllr. Beck went on to discuss the Rotherham brand and what he calls "Rotherham plc" and inward investment. He said: "Although you may be thinking, why am I talking about inward investment because it pales into insignificance when we talk about the crimes that have been committed but I already know that there are companies who where planning on moving to Rotherham, from around the country and indeed around the world, who are now re-evaluating that decision.

"Damage has been done to Rotherham to a point we may never see repaired."

Rotherham Council website

Images: RMBC

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