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Pressure mounts on Ged Fitzgerald in wake of Rotherham scandal

Liverpool's chief executive to face questions from Mayor over child sex report

Written by . Published on August 29th 2014.


Pressure mounts on Ged Fitzgerald in wake of Rotherham scandal
PRESSURE is mounting today on Liverpool City Council’s Chief Executive Ged Fitzgerald in the wake of the child sexual exploitation scandal in Rotherham. 
Liverpool’s head officer was chief executive in Rotherham  between 2001 and 2003.
 
Today Liverpool’s Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Richard Kemp wrote to Mayor Joe Anderson asking what he will be doing to examine the role of Mr Fitzgerald in the Rotherham issue.
 
Merseyside Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy has also spoken about Mr Fitzgerald’s involvement in Rotherham.
 
Later a statement was issued by Mayor Anderson saying he will be discussing the Rotherham matters with Mr Fitzgerald as soon as possible.
 
The Mayor said: ““Having read and fully digested the Alexis Jay Report, the events over a 15 year period are truly shocking. I am aware that Mr Fitzgerald has co-operated fully with the inquiry and has given statements to it.”
 
The Mayor said he will be seeking clarification as to whether Mr Fitzgerald was aware of an earlier report into sexual exploitation in Rotherham.
 
“I also note that the Jay report is non-specific and does not name people, I will be seeking further clarification from Alexis Jay and others at Rotherham about Mr Fitzgerald's role.
 
“I want to reassure people in the City of Liverpool that child protection and safeguarding our children is of paramount importance to me and this administration.We will always put our children's safety first.”
 
In his letter Cllr Kemp asks Mayor Anderson whether he intends to investigate the role of the chief executive in Rotherham.
 
He tells the Mayor he believes it is particularly important that such a review should take place quickly.
 
He refers to the report into Rotherham by Professor Alexi Jay who said that "the content of the report which Mr Fitzgerald thought was, “anecdotal, used partial information and was methodologically unsound” was largely accurate and that children could have been protected if the report had been taken seriously".
 
Cllr Kemp adds: “This could have implications for the way information is viewed and used within our own Council by senior staff.”
 
He also said Mr Fitzgerald is due to become the President of SOLACE in October, the professional body for Chief Executives and other senior council staff and therefore the public face of all Chief Officers in England.
 
“It would clearly help him to have questions about his tenure in Rotherham cleared up before and if he assumes that role.”
 
Police Commissioner Kennedy, the former Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree has also intervened.
 
She said Liverpool’s chief executive and others “should examine their consciences” over their roles in the child abuse scandal in Yorkshire.
 
Mrs Kennedy said Mr Fitzgerald should decide whether he thinks he “did the right thing” when in charge there during his tenure, between 2001 and 2003.
 
So far Mr Fitzgerald has not made any comments in the light of this week’s shock report. He is out of the country and is not due back until the middle of next week.
 

Cllr Kemp’s letter:

Dear Joe,
 
 
Re:      Ged Fitzgerald and Rotherham
 
I am sure that you will have been as concerned as I have been about the affairs that have been unravelling before our eyes over the past few days about the Children’s Services in Rotherham.
 
 
I understand from the press that the Current Chief Executive of Rotherham has forwarded a copy of the report to all councils where former Rotherham senior staff are working.
 
 
I note also that the current President of Solace made clear that it was the responsibility of current employers of such staff to investigate what those staff members did whilst in Rotherham and also to examine whether that has implications for their current employers.
 
 
On that basis I would be grateful if you would let me know:
 
  1. Whether you have yet received the report;
     
  2. Whether you have yet been able to study it; and
     
  3. How you intend to take forward the suggested investigation.
     
    I believe it is particularly important that such a review should take place quickly for 2 reasons: 
  1. Professor Jay said that the content of the report which Mr Fitzgerald thought was, “anecdotal, used partial information and was methodologically unsound” was largely accurate and that children could have been protected if the report had been taken seriously. This could have implications for the way information is viewed and used within our own Council by senior staff; and
     
  2. In October Mr Fitzgerald is due to become the President of SOLACE, the Professional body for Chief Executives and other senior council staff and therefore the public face of all Chief Officers in England. It would clearly help him to have questions about his tenure in Rotherham cleared up before and if he assumes that role.
     
    I look forward to hearing from you your proposals in this matter.
 

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13 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Katie54August 29th 2014.

He cannot possibly have "read and fully digested" the report. Because in his full statement, as reported in the Echo, Mr Anderson confuses two reports, the Home Office Report and the Deal Report. He clearly states that they are one and the same ("the Deal report, also known as the HO report"). The Jay report makes it absolutely clear that these are two separate reports, and actually states that the Home Office report was discussed in several meetings of Fitzgerald and other senior staff and the Police in June 2002 (in the Chronology of Events on page 7). So the research was undertaken, and the report was drafted, under his tenure, The researcher in question was then subject to "hostilities" from senior officers, threatened with gross misconduct, and removed from the study. The report she wrote then disappeared (all except a small section). The Deal report came later, in 2003, and its primary focus was drugs. Perhaps what the Mayor actually read was an inaccurate digest prepared by someone else.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 29th 2014.

Which is probably why Mayor Anderson is wisely seeking clarification from all concerned. It is much better to established what is what before jumping to any conclusions.

Katie54August 30th 2014.

"establish what is what" is precisely what Professor Jay has been doing, isn't it? Or are you suggesting that she "jumped to conclusions"?? My point is that the Mayor said he had read and "digested" the report, and then promptly made two assertions that are not true. Which means that he probably didn't actually read it himself, but relied on someone else, who prepared this statement for him. A statement that is designed to exculpate Fitzgerald, by misrepresenting the Home Office report and suggesting he is not referred to specifically in the Jay report, when in fact he is.

AnonymousAugust 30th 2014.

Given the gravity of the situation, if it had been me I'd have jumped on the first plane back home to sort this out. It wouldn't look good to finish my holiday and come back when I am good and ready.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 2nd 2014.

On the other hand, if you're trying to work out/find out how much evidence they have of what you actually did or didn't do, then being unable to comment because you're on holiday is a great excuse.

John BradleySeptember 1st 2014.

Just been a story on BBC1 about the first investigation in 2002 and data allegedly being stolen from filing cabinets. Seemed to be slap bang in the middle of Fitzgeralds tenure.

Emma BSeptember 3rd 2014.

I note from his CV on Linkedin that he's moved Council every 2.5 years. Sefton, Rotherham, Sunderland, Lancashire, Liverpool...the gravy train has at last hit the buffers. £250k pa package!

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 3rd 2014.

Shame on him for having ambition and bettering himself eh? How awful

John BradleySeptember 3rd 2014.

There is more to "bettering" yourself than earning more money.

AnonymousSeptember 3rd 2014.

Well said JB

AnonymousSeptember 4th 2014.

Meaning steady career progression and improvement, not money.

Emma BSeptember 3rd 2014.

Well I doubt a single Liverpool Council Tax Payer will say that he's 'earned' that. Incidentally, I note that Ged isn't a Liverpool Council Tax Payer. They never ever live in the authority do they?! Moving every couple of years at that level never inspires confidence. Surely he's made enough to retire.

Myles FailbetterSeptember 4th 2014.

He had three full years at Rotheram: January 2001 to January 2004. Not the 'couple' of years which has been suggested by many eager to minimise any part he may or may not have played in this vile saga.

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