The head of children’s services at Rotherham council has finally quit after weeks of pressure from politicians and members of the public following a report that detailed the abuse of over 1,400 children in the town over a 16-year period.
According to the Times, Joyce Thacker left her £115,000-a-year job “by mutual agreement”, having been away from work on sick leave since Monday.
She had appeared before a committee of MPs last week, where she insisted that she had no intention of standing down. She instead blamed police and other members of the council for failing to act on reports of abuse in the town.
She is the latest person to lose their job over the abuse scandal, with South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Shaun Wright also resigning last week after mounting calls from public figures. A petition for his resignation had reached nearly 15,000 signatures by the time he quit.
An inquiry by Professor Alexis Jay found that more than 1,400 children in the town had been abused between 1997 and 2013, with police and council officials failing to act on repeated alerts. Many of the abusers were Muslim, leading to accusations that the authorities refused to act due to political correctness and fear of being labelled “racist”.
Roger Stone, the Labour leader of the council also resigned over the report, while council chief executive Martin Kimber has said he will leave his job in December.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, welcomed Thacker’s departure, saying: “This is the right decision.” He added she should not receive any financial compensation for her decision, saying that such a move would be “unacceptable”.
Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for neighbouring Rochdale, said that it was clear from Ms Thacker’s evidence that “she’d failed the young girls of Rotherham, so I’m pleased she’s gone.”
Ms Thacker was awarded an OBE for services to children in 2007, but it is unknown whether she will be stripped of this.