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Rotherham child abuse: Martin Kimber, council chief exec, to step down

Martin Kimber Image copyright PA
Image caption Martin Kimber will step down as chief executive following the child abuse scandal in Rotherham

The chief executive of Rotherham Council is to step down following a report that exposed the scale of child sexual exploitation in the town.

Martin Kimber will leave the post in December, he has announced.

In a statement, he said wanted to reiterate his "sincere apology to those who were let down".

A report published last month said at least 1,400 children were sexually exploited from 1997-2013, mainly by men of Pakistani heritage.

Mr Kimber, who joined the authority in 2009, said: "I believe that new leadership will enable the town to recover more quickly from the events of the last two weeks, and strongly signal a new beginning at this critical time in its recovery."

Council leader Roger Stone quit following the publication of the report, which was commissioned by the council and detailed gang rapes, grooming, trafficking and other sexual exploitation on a wide scale.

Calls for further resignations have gathered momentum as the spotlight turned to others at the helm of local services during the time of the abuse.

'Blatant' failings

South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright, who was in charge of children's services in Rotherham from 2005 to 2010, has so far resisted calls to step down.

In the wake of the Jay Report, Mr Kimber said no council employees would face disciplinary action because there was not enough evidence to prosecute.

The report concluded there had been "blatant" collective failures by the council's leadership.

The Labour Party has since suspended four members, including Mr Stone, ex-deputy leader Jahangir Akhtar and councillors Gwendoline Russell and Shaukat Ali, pending an investigation.

Investigations

South Yorkshire Police has commissioned an independent investigation into its handling of the scandal.

The inquiry will "examine the role of both the police and council... and address any wrongdoings or failings," Chief Constable David Crompton said.

The government is also considering carrying out an inspection of the council.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles told the House of Commons he hoped to make an announcement about the investigation "very soon", as soon as the person he wanted to lead it had cleared their diary.

Mr Wright will face questions from MPs on Tuesday about his knowledge of the abuse.

The Home Affairs Select Committee will also hear evidence from Mr Crompton, senior Rotherham Council official Joyce Thacker and NSPCC chief executive Sir Peter Wanless, who is leading a review into the Home Office's handling of abuse allegations.

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