Council plans to expand internal investigation

Rotherham Council leader Paul Lakin has pledged to widen the scope of an internal inquiry into missing child sexual exploitation files.

He said he has been ‘extremely concerned’ about the alleged theft of the researcher’s files in 2002 - as well as the four years of missing minutes highlighted by Alexis Jay earlier this week.

Coun Lakin said: “As I have repeatedly stated since these events came to light, I too was extremely concerned to hear about the alleged removal of files, which is again referred to in the Home Affairs Committee report. Consequently, I had already asked the chief executive to ensure a thorough internal investigation was carried out.

“I am also now asking the chief executive to widen out this investigation, given Alexis Jay’s comments about missing files from the period between 1999 and 2003.”

He said the council would co-operate fully with any independent investigation into the theft of the files, while chief executive Martin Kimber will review whether any current Rotherham Council staff need to face disciplinary action.

Meanwhile, South Yorkshire Police has said it accepts the conclusions of the Home Affairs Select Committee report. A spokesman said the force will meet with National Crime Agency Director of Investigations Trevor Pearce next week to allow him to decide on ‘terms of reference’ for his independent investigation into child sexual exploitation.