On 19 October 2016, I announced my intention, after careful consideration of the recommendation of the commissioner team, to return licensing functions to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. On the same day, representations were invited from the authority regarding this intention. I have now considered the representations, including from the leader and the chief executive, and I am satisfied that the council is now able to exercise this service area 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 licensing, including all associated executive and non-executive functions, to the council. Handing back this function will allow some democratic control to be returned and is an important milestone for the council, which has demonstrated steady progress in its improvement journey.
Today, the Secretary of State for Education and I have issued further directions amending the directions issued on 11 February 2016 that return this service area to the authority. With effect from 13 December, councillors will be responsible for decision making in this area. The commissioners will continue to provide oversight on licensing as well as the set of functions returned in February 2016 and ensure that they are exercised in accordance with the statutory best value duty. Commissioners also continue to retain powers in additional service areas including children’s services (including all services relating to child sexual exploitation); adult social care and audit.
I am placing a copy of the documents associated with this announcement in the Library of the House and on my Department’s website.