Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Ian Thomas starts as new children's boss for Rotherham council

Ian Thomas Image copyright Derbyshire County Council
Image caption Ian Thomas said: "I'll stand up and be counted."

A new director of children's services has started work at Rotherham Council.

Ian Thomas worked at children's services at Derbyshire County Council and has taken over from Joyce Thacker, who resigned in September in the wake of the Jay Report.

Professor Alexis Jay estimated 1,400 children were sexually exploited in the town over a 16-year period.

Mr Thomas has been appointed on a one-year contract but said he would stay "as long as it takes".

'Turning a blind eye'

He told BBC Radio Sheffield: "I'll stand up and be counted.

"If there was a problem in the past regarding political correctness or turning a blind eye that will not happen."

He said in the past there had been a lack of guidance and systems in place to manage performance well.

Ms Thacker's resignation was one of a series from the council. Other senior figures who left their posts included council leader Roger Stone, council chief executive Martin Kimber and South Yorkshire police commissioner Shaun Wright, who was the head of children's services in Rotherham between 2005 and 2010.

The report published in 2014 detailed the sex abuse, mainly by gangs of men of Pakistani heritage, from 1997 to 2013 and accused the council's leadership of "blatant" collective failures.

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