We have heard today details of the most horrific child abuse in the English town of Rotherham. This abuse could have involved more than 1,400 children over a 16 year period from 1997 until 2013. So this is not ancient history– it is now.The author of the report mentioned blatant collective failures by the council’s leadership and by senior managers who had underplayed the scale of the problem . Meanwhile the police failed to prioritise the issue; but what could be more important than the well-being of children.

In a telling phrase the author of the report stated ” the authorities involved have a great deal to answer for“.

However the author of this blog is not a lawyer involved in child welfare law nor indeed does he have any knowledge of the nature of structures and responsibilities within local politics and the opinions are strictly his own.

The author of this piece does know and will no doubt be saying it until the day he stops writing that if laws are not properly enforced, for whatever reason, this is what happens. There is absolutely no point in having layers and layers of rules, regulations, statutes, policies, guidelines and / or the resulting  box-ticking if those rules aren’t enforced and no-one will take ultimate responsibility for them. Fulsome apologies after the event, as today, just don’t do it for me. Those who are tasked with enforcing the rules and taking responsibility for that enforcement, be they child abuse rules in Rotherham, the rules relating to mis-selling by financial institutions, utility companies, airlines or whoever (as well as everything in between, of which there is much), need to start thinking very hard about things. 

If they can’t do whatever is they are tasked with,then everyone from Parliament, up or down, should first ask why not. And then they should get on and sort it. Because as above, the protection of children is a mark of a civilised society– and if we can’t manage that, we probably can’t manage much else.

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