Statement from Mayor Joe Anderson

Following the invitation from the Chief Executive to meet with myself and the other Group leaders to give us the opportunity to raise any issues about his time as Chief Executive at Rotherham, a meeting took place today which was attended by the Chief Executive, the Leader of the Main Opposition Councillor John Coyne and myself. I am disappointed that the other Minority Group Leaders did not see fit to take part in the discussion and chose not to avail themselves of the opportunity presented by the Chief Executive. I thank Councillor Coyne for his participation.

The two hour meeting was chaired by Professor Sir Howard Newby, Vice Chancellor of the University of Liverpool and we are grateful to Sir Howard for performing that role and I feel that his attendance at the meeting evidences the transparency with which myself and the Chief Executive seek to conduct matters.

The Chief Executive answered an extensive number of questions from myself, Councillor Coyne and the Vice Chancellor and also questions which had been submitted by other councillors, which the Chief Executive had invited them to do. He addressed all the issues in an open and frank manner and provided us with useful context to his time at Rotherham.

On the basis of our discussions around the information which has been circulating to date about his time at Rotherham I am satisfied that the Chief Executive has answered honestly and fully. He reiterated his comment made in September that he would have cooperated fully with a public inquiry into the issue at Rotherham but the Government has not seen fit to call one.

Councillor John Coyne said ‘I believe Mayor Anderson’s approach to dealing with this sensitive issue has been the right one. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to hear directly from the Chief Executive and I believe he was extremely open in his discussions with us and I now have much more information about the issues in question.’

Professor Sir Howard Newby said ‘I was happy to accept the offer to act as Chair and in the meeting the Chief Executive stated that he welcomed the opportunity to address issues and those present found the meeting to be very helpful and constructive.’