Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council has made steady and significant progress in its improvement journey since February 2015 when the Secretary of State for Education and I appointed a team of Commissioners to undertake all executive and some non-executive functions in the Council. This progress has led to the majority of functions being returned to the Council over the last 18 months.
On 18 July 2017, I announced my intention, after careful consideration of the recommendation from the Commissioner team, to return a further five service areas to the Council – performance management, waste collection, human resources, asset management and community safety. On the same day, representations were invited from the Authority regarding this intention. I have considered the representations, including from the Chief Executive. I am satisfied that the Council is now able to exercise functions relating to these service areas in compliance with the best value duty as set out in the Local Government Act 1999, and that the people of Rotherham can have confidence that this will be the case.
Today, I exercised my powers under section 15 of the Local Government Act 1999 to return five functions to the Council so that Councillors became responsible for decision making in these areas. To do so, the Education Secretary and I also issued further Directions updating the previous Directions issued on 21 March 2017. Handing back these powers increases democratic control and is a significant milestone for the Council on its improvement journey.
With effect from 12 September, the Commissioners provide oversight on these five service areas as well as the set of functions returned last year and ensure that they are exercised in accordance with the statutory best value duty. Commissioners also continue to retain powers in children’s services (including all services relating to child sexual exploitation), the appointment and dismissal of statutory officers and payment of special allowances.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: