Rotherham, South Yorkshire, where 1,400 girls were abused by Asian gangs over 16 years. (Getty)
More than 1,400 girls were abused by Asian gangs in Rotherham for 16 years Getty

The entire cabinet at Rotherham council has resigned following the publication of a damning report which said it is "not fit for purpose" in wake of the town's child abuse scandal.

The report by Louise Casey, the government's lead on troubled families, said the council has taken "more care of its reputation than it has its of its most needy" and harboured a culture of bullying and sexism.

Casey said the council are "in denial" about the scale of their problems and have showed a "reluctance to deal with past failings".

Casey was asked to inspect the council by communities secretary Eric Pickles following a damning report by Professor Alexis Jay which revealed how 1,400 girls were abused and trafficked, mainly by men of Pakistan origin, for 16 years.

Following the publication of the Casey report, Rotherham Council said: "The author clearly has no confidence in the current political leadership of Rotherham Borough Council.

"As a Cabinet, whatever the details, as the political leadership of the council we must take responsibility. We therefore announce our intention to resign our positions as soon as transitional arrangements can be put in place."

The National Crime Agency also said there were "a number of potentially criminal matters" identified in the report.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Pickles proposed government-appointed commissioners to deal with issues around Rotherham Council as they are currently unable to deal with it themselves "without substantial intervention".

He also called for an all-out election at the council in 2016.

In the report, Casey said: "Terrible things happened in Rotherham and on a significant scale. Children were sexually exploited by men who came largely from the Pakistani heritage community. Not enough was done to acknowledge this, to stop it happening, to protect children, to support victims and to apprehend perpetrators.

"They denied that there had been a problem, or if there had been, that it was as big as was said. If there was a problem they certainly were not told – it was someone else's job. They were no worse than anyone else. They had won awards. The media were out to get them."

She added: "This inspection revealed past and present failures to accept, understand and combat the issue of child sexual exploitation (CSE), resulting in a lack of support for victims and insufficient action against known perpetrators.

"The council's culture is unhealthy: bullying, sexism, suppression and misplaced 'political correctness' have cemented its failures. The council is currently incapable of tackling its weaknesses, without a sustained intervention."