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Rotherham abuse scandal: Children's services director Joyce Thacker quits

Joyce Thacker Image copyright PA
Image caption Ms Thacker went on sick leave from from her role at Rotherham Council

Rotherham council's director of children's services has resigned in the wake of a report which said 1,400 girls had been abused in the town.

Joyce Thacker had been under pressure to step down since the publication of the Jay Report last month.

The council said Ms Thacker "is to leave... by mutual agreement, with immediate effect" but refused to comment further.

It had revealed this week she was on sick leave.

The council's leadership had been accused of "blatant" collective failures in a report detailing the sexual abuse mainly by gangs of men of Pakistani heritage from 1997 to 2013.

Keith Vaz, the Commons Home Affairs select committee chairman, called on her to resign earlier this month.

'Pleased she's gone'

After appearing before the select committee that was investigating responses to the sex abuse, Ms Thacker refused to leave her job.

She was also grilled by MPs at the Communities and Local Government select committee.

Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale, said: "I questioned her at the committee and it was quite clear from that cross-examination that she'd failed the young girls of Rotherham, so I'm pleased she's gone."

When the report was published on 26 August, its author Professor Alexis Jay said senior managers had "underplayed" the scale and seriousness of the problem and police also failed to prioritise it.

She insisted that, given her findings, "nobody could say I didn't know".

After the report was published Mrs Thacker said she was "appalled" at the scale of the abuse and offered her "sincere apologies to those who were let down by our services in the past", adding there were "simply no excuses".

Ms Thacker's is the latest in a series of resignations prompted by the report.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Shaun Wright resigned after weeks of pressure following the publication of the Alexis Jay Report

Council leader Roger Stone was the only person to step down immediately after it was published.

As the pressure mounted, council chief executive Martin Kimber also stepped down followed by the South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner (PCC), Shaun Wright.

Mr Wright, who was the councillor responsible for children's services in Rotherham between 2005 and 2010, resisted widespread calls for him to go for three weeks before he resigned earlier this week

Steve Pick, the treasurer for the office of the PCC, was installed as interim South Yorkshire PCC on Thursday.

He will hold the post until a by-election for the new permanent role is held on 30 October.

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