Friday, February 27, 2015

News: Kenny's new role at Rotherham Council

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Julie Kenny CBE DL, chair and chief executive of growing Rotherham business, Pyronix Limited, has been brought in as a commissioner at troubled Rotherham Council.

Last August, a report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham described how vulnerable children have been repeatedly failed by the council. The report led to the resignation as leader by Cllr. Roger Stone and two weeks after the publication, the resignation of chief executive, Martin Kimber.

A statutory inspection of Rotherham Council was undertaken at the request of the government by Louise Casey, a government official and director general of the Troubled Families board. It presented "a disturbing picture of a council failing in its duty to protect vulnerable children and young people from harm" and a "complete failure of political and officer leadership in Rotherham."

The report concludes that Rotherham Council has failed its citizens, is failing to comply with the statutory best value duty and needs a fresh start.

As part of an intervention package announced by Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, commissioners have been appointed who will provide new leadership, taking over the roles of the current "wholly dysfunctional" cabinet, which promptly resigned when the report was published.

The commissioners will be led by Sir Derek Myers, the former joint Chief Executive of the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham.

Sir Derek will be supported by Stella Manzie CBE, a former Chief Executive of Barking and Dagenham, Coventry, Redditch and West Berkshire councils, who will take on the role of Managing Director Commissioner responsible for the day to day running of all services until the Commissioners appoint a new permanent chief executive.

In addition Malcolm Newsam will remain in Rotherham as Children's Social Care Commissioner, having been nominated by the Local Government and Education Secretaries, and Mary Ney and Julie Kenny CBE will act as supporting Commissioners.

Based in Hellaby, Pyronix is an award-winning manufacturer with an extensive range of electronic security equipment for intruder alarms. Kenny is the major shareholder.

In other roles, Julie is helping to save Wentworth Woodhouse, chairing the governors at Maltby Academy, is a board member of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and a commissioner with UKCES, the partnership that aims to raise skill levels to help drive enterprise, create more and better jobs and economic growth.

Kenny was the chair of abolished regional development agency, Yorkshire Forward, and successfully wound down the operations when it was closed in 2012. She is also the former chair of the Small Business Council and is an honorary director of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce.

Named Vitalise Business Woman of the Year 2013 and Private Business Woman of the Year 2014, Julie carried out over 300 engagements during her term as High Sheriff of South Yorkshire which finished in April 2013. She was awarded a CBE in 2002 in recognition of her contribution to the Yorkshire and Humber's business and industry, and an Honorary Doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University in recognition of her "outstanding contribution to industry and to life in the region."

In 2010, Julie was selected as a Commissioner when the Government issued a direction intervention at Doncaster Council following an independent inspection report which raised serious concerns about the governance and performance of the council. The council's performance was seen to have materially improved, both politically and managerially, and the statutory corporate governance intervention was brought to an early close in 2014.

The Rotherham commissioners are set to exercise other functions of the council "where there can be no confidence in the council's ability to act responsibly." They will also have the functions of appointing the chief executive, chief finance officer and monitoring officer, and of nominating members to other bodies. Jan Ormondroyd took on the chief exec role in an interim capacity in December and the recruitment for a permanent successor has been halted.

The commissioners could be in place until 2019 with regular reviews and reports expected to result in a phased roll back of functions over the duration of the intervention.

Rotherham Council website

Images: Sheffield City Region LEP

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