Doncaster council child services boss probe cost £100,000

Doncaster's  Civic Offices.
Doncaster's Civic Offices.

An inquiry into a Doncaster children’s services boss implicated in a child sex abuse scandal has cost taxpayers more than £100,000.

Figures revealed following a Freedom of Information request show an independent investigation into the conduct of Jackie Wilson – who was responsible for safeguarding children in Rotherham between 2002 and 2007 – has cost £109,801.

The inquiry was launched following an independent report by Professor Alexis Jay into Rotherham Council.

Prof Jay suggested 1,400 children were abused between 1997 and 2013 by largely Pakistani-heritage men while authorities turned a blind eye because of sensitivities around the ethnicity of offenders.

Commissioned by Doncaster Council in 2014, the investigation into Mrs Wilson’s conduct was carried out by law firm Wragge Lawrence Graham.

Six people were interviewed, including Mrs Wilson, who was cleared of any wrongdoing when the investigation was completed in March this year.

Jo Miller. Doncaster Council chief executive, said: “When the Jay report was published I promised the council would act quickly to investigate claims regarding any employee and that is what has happened.

“We followed the recommendations of the select committee that councils should act and investigations do come with a cost.

“I was determined the investigation was independent from the council and not undertaken by our staff, so we did commission a legal firm with the relevant expertise to do this.

“We would be criticised if we did not investigate to ascertain if we need to take action, so we took action to commission this inquiry.

“Yes there is a bill to pay and we have made provision for this to be paid from the administrative budget and not frontline services. ”

Mrs Wilson was interviewed by Prof Jay for her report.

Its principal finding, that Rotherham Council failed to protect children from abuse, led to calls for local authorities to investigate staff mentioned in the report.

The investigation into Mrs Wilson reviewed the Jay report and the later Casey report into Rotherham Council.

Following her time at Rotherham Council, Mrs Wilson was employed as 
assistant director of children’s services at Doncaster Council and is now director of transformation at Doncaster Children’s Services Trust.