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Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Volume 605: debated on Thursday 11 February 2016

On 21 January 2016, I announced my intention, after careful consideration of the recommendation of the commissioner team to return certain functions to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. The original directions were issued on 26 February 2015, following the Casey report and advice note from Sir Michael Wilshaw, HM chief inspector of education, children’s services and skills. Although a number of challenges remain, there has been significant areas of progress nearly a year on, and I believe it is now appropriate to return some functions to the authority.

However it is important to stress that the returned functions do not include functions such as licensing; children’s social care—including all services relating to child sexual exploitation; adult social care; audit; and other functions which still remain high risk.

On 21 January 2016, I invited representations from the authority regarding my intention to return certain functions to them to exercise. I have now considered representations received from the authority, including from the leader and the chief executive, and I am satisfied that the council is now able to exercise the functions identified by the lead commissioner in compliance with the best value duty, and that the people of Rotherham can have confidence that this will be the case. Therefore, today I am exercising my powers under section 15 of the Local Government Act 1999 to return certain service areas, including all associated executive and non-executive functions, to the council to exercise. Handing back these functions will allow some democratic control to be returned and for the authority to take an important first step on the road to recovery.

The functions to be returned are:

Education and schools; education for 14-19 years in all settings; school admissions and appeal system; youth services

Public health

Leisure services; events in parks and green spaces

Customer and cultural services, libraries, arts, customer services and welfare programmes


Planning and transportation policy; highways maintenance

The council’s area assembly system and neighbourhood working; responsibilities under the Equalities Act

Building regulation, drainage, car parking; environmental health; business regulation and enforcement—not including taxi licensing; emergency planning

• ICT; legal and democratic services; corporate communications; corporate policy; procurement; financial services, including benefits and revenues, but not including audit

Budget control in these areas and budget planning

Policy arising from Sheffield city region.

Today, the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Nicky Morgan) and I have issued new directions that return the above identified service areas to the authority. With effect from 11 February, councillors will be responsible for decision making in these areas. The commissioners will provide oversight of the returned functions to ensure that they are exercised in accordance with the statutory best value duty and also retain powers in the remaining areas and other functions which still remain high risk. The directions and explanatory memorandum that accompany this statement can be viewed online at: