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Joyce Thacker

The Rotherham Common Purpose Effect

by | Wednesday, 4th February 2015
By blurring the boundaries between people, professions, public and private sectors, responsibility and accountability, Common Purpose encourages “graduates” to believe that as new selected leaders, they can work together, outside of the established political and social structures, to achieve a paradigm shift or CHANGE - so called “Leading Beyond Authority”. In doing so, the allegiance of the individual becomes ‘re-framed’ on CP colleagues and their NETWORK. Is it any wonder the local authority is "not fit for purpose" in the latest official report?

In the May 2013 edition of the UK Column, we published an in depth article discussing the report which resulted from the 31 month Public Inquiry into unnecessary deaths at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust (The NHS Common Purpose: Towards a Million Change Agents).

When presenting his findings Robert Francis QC told his audience: 

This is a story of appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people. They were failed by a system which ignored the warning signs, and put corporate self-interest and cost control ahead of patients and their safety.

Francis claimed there was a lack of care, compassion, humanity and that the most basic standards of care and fundamental rights to patient dignity had not been respected. He also claimed that there was a lack of leadership. Amongst the report’s recommendations were that an NHS leadership college should be set up so that managers can share best practice. 

One of the four inquiry assessors was Sir Cyril Chantler. Chantler is also on the Board of the Media Standards Trust where he has been sitting alongside Sir David Bell (Common Purpose and an assessor at the Leveson enquiry) and Julia Middleton CEO, Common Purpose.

Chantler was Chairman of the Kings Fund London from 2004 until 2010. According to the Kings Fund website they have been ‘developing confident, able and imaginative leaders within the NHS for more than 30 years. Now, more than ever, the NHS needs the right leaders at all levels, who are prepared to drive improvements and inspire change at a time of enormous financial challenge’.

Common Purpose NHS leadership training wasn’t mentioned even once in the three volume Francis report. UK Column researchers uncovered the fact that East Midlands Leadership Academy, delivered in partnership with Common Purpose and the Kings Fund, had been delivering training to many NHS personnel.

We also uncovered many examples of external executive coaching organisations providing NHS training via specialists in Neurolinguistic programming. This included direct evidence of involvement by the organisation NLP life. This organisation  includes amongst its trainers Dr. Richard Bandler and stage hypnotist Paul McKenna. Bandler is the Co-Founder of the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

The Francis report highlighted the ‘appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people’. Despite this we have heard of no criminal prosecutions or other sanctions against those responsible and shortly after the scandal was publicised it was reported that Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust was to be dissolved. Would we be cynical to assume that this move is designed to frustrate any civil claims for damages due to negligence, we wonder?

The Rotherham Common Purpose Effect

The ongoing scandal concerning the industrial scale of abuse of young children in Rotherham provided us with an opportunity to bring into sharp public focus any networks of Common Purpose operatives found within the strategic partnerships made up of various public sector organisations in Rotherham and the wider geographical area. 

The 159 page Jay report ‘Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham 1997 – 2013’ makes more than uncomfortable reading. A flavour can be obtained from the following extracts from the Executive Summary of that report:

  • Our conservative estimate is that approximately 1400 children were sexually exploited over the full Inquiry period, from 1997 to 2013. 
  • They were raped by multiple perpetrators, trafficked to other towns and cities in the north of England, abducted, beaten, and intimidated. There were examples of children who had been doused in petrol and threatened with being set alight, threatened with guns, made to witness brutally violent rapes and threatened they would be next if they told anyone. Girls as young as 11 were raped by large numbers of male perpetrators. 
  • Over the first twelve years covered by this Inquiry, the collective failures of political and officer leadership were blatant. 
  • The Police gave no priority to CSE, regarding many child victims with contempt and failing to act on their abuse as a crime. Further stark evidence came in 2002, 2003 and 2006 with three reports known to the Police and the Council, which could not have been clearer in their description of the situation in Rotherham. The first of these reports was effectively suppressed and the others were ignored and no action was taken to deal with the issues that were identified in them. 
  • Seminars for elected members and senior officers in 2004-05 presented the abuse in the most explicit terms. 

The remainder of the Jay report is equally damning. For 16 years, not only did the police and social services turn a blind eye, sometimes the police even harassed those who were whistleblowers. 

Is there a provable behind the scenes connection between those leading South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham MBC Officers?

David “more concerned with reputation than catching abusers” Compton: Chief Constable, South Yorkshire Police (2012–Present). Whilst Assistant Chief Constable, West Yorkshire Police, Compton Graduated as a Common Purpose Matrix Graduate (1994).

Robert Dyson QPM: Temporary Chief Constable prior to the appointment of David Compton. Deputy Chief Constable, South Yorkshire Police (2007 -2012). Is currently the Independent Chair of Barnsley Safeguarding Children Board. Dyson became a Common Purpose Matrix Graduate in 2002 and is a member of Common Purpose Sheffield City Region Group.  

Martin “no council officers will face disciplinary action” Kimber: Chief Executive, Rotherham MBC (2009 - present). Kimber recently declared to MPs that child sex abuse files were “missing from the council archive”. Whilst Head of Service, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council in 1992 Kimber became a Common Purpose Matrix Graduate.

Is there evidence of CP involvement with strategic partnerships?

Carole Haywood: Manager for the Rotherham Local Strategic Partnership (December 2008 – Present) and Policy lead for Rotherham Council. Working collaboratively with Rotherham’s Strategic partners to look for locally led solutions to issues that impact on Rotherham’s people and communities. Haywood is also a member of Common Purpose Sheffield City Region Group.  

Joyce Thacker: former strategic director of children and young people’s services at Rotherham MBC. She was a project advisor for a pilot programme run by Common Purpose that was concerned with community cohesion and diversity issues in West Yorkshire. Thacker was until recently a member of the Health & Wellbeing Board where she sat alongside Martin Kimber, COE Rotherham MBC (Common Purpose), Janet Wheatley, CEO Voluntary Action Rotherham (Common Purpose) and Carol Stubley, Director of Finance, South Yorkshire & Bassetlaw Area Team, NHS England (Common Purpose).

In the Health & Wellbeing Board Register of Members interests, dated 15th May 2013, Joyce Thacker failed to declare any interests with Common Purpose.

Zaidah Ahmed: Community Cohesion Manager. According to LinkEdin Zaidah’s current role is to “provide strategic leadership across the School Effectiveness Service (SES) and within Children & Young People’s Services (CYPS) of the programmes to develop community cohesion in the school system”. According to the website of the Yorkshire and Humber Improvement and Efficiency Partnership ‘Common Purpose had been commissioned to deliver the Get Connected Leadership Programme. Included is Zaidah Ahmed who describes herself as “managing a multi agency team comprising of social workers, educationalist and Health professionals to deliver a fully integrated service for children, young people and families. She is also a qualified Teacher, Counsellor, Youth Worker, Careers and connexions Advisor ... Zaidah qualified as a Magistrate (JP) in 2007. She is also a Common Purpose graduate. 

Councillor Mahroof Hussain: a Labour councillor in Rotherham, South Yorkshire since 2002. He is currently Cabinet Member for Cohesion. Mahroof was appointed as a Magistrate to the Rotherham Bench in 2001. He is a graduate of the IDeA Leadership Academy, Common Purpose Programme and the next Generation of Leaders in Local Government programme run by the Westminster Leadership Academy. Hussain is a member of the Rotherham Partnership Board and the Local Government Yorkshire and the Humber – Local Authority Commission on Asylum and Migration (Migration Yorkshire).

With two Common Purpose graduates involved with Community Cohesion in Rotherham would we be cynical to believe that the ‘race card’ has been deliberately deployed in order to deflect attention from the true systemic problem which appears to revolve around the Common Purpose controlled local networks?

Common Purpose Paedophiles

What would the following historical cases of Frank Sheenan, James Rennie and Mathew Byrne suggest to the hypothetical reasonable man on the Clapham Omnibus?

Frank Sheenan: In 2008 Chief Fire Officer for West Midlands Fire Service resigned from his post with immediate effect. He had been arrested on suspicion of making indecent images of children. In 2009 Frank Sheenan received a formal caution and was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for two years after the Crown Prosecution Service deemed it was ‘not in the public interest’ to charge him. Frank Sheehan was a Common Purpose 20:20 graduate 1998 

James Rennie was the successful chief executive of LGBT Youth Scotland, an organisation dedicated to helping young gay people. A former secondary school teacher, he regularly spoke out in public on gay issues, particularly how they affected young people. But the High Court in Edinburgh heard he was “polluted by deviant compulsion”. He was charged and ultimately convicted of molesting a child over a number of years, starting at the age of three months. Rennie was a Common Purpose Matrix Graduate 2003.

Mathew Byrne, a Children’s charity boss, admitted a string of sadistic sex attacks on prostitutes in a ‘torture chamber bedroom’ in 2010. He made his victims dress up as young schoolgirls before carrying out horrific sex assaults on them at his Wirral home. Byrne also admitted four charges of making indecent images of children. In 2008 the charity boss featured in Liverpool: Sung & Unsung - a collection of photographs featuring “individuals that best represent the city” and “make decisions which affect the whole city”. He was one of 86 leading lights in the book and appeared alongside then Merseyside Police chief constable Bernard Hogan Howe, comedian Ken Dodd and Archbishop Patrick Kelly. Byrne was a Common Purpose Advisory Group member and helped select other individuals as suitable for Common Purpose training.

In the adjoining Greater Manchester area, Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy and two detectives have recently been served with criminal and gross misconduct notices by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The claims against Fahy relate to his alleged support to an allegedly poorly-handled investigation into a suspected sex offender. A detective superintendent and a detective chief inspector have also been served with criminal and gross misconduct notices for their roles in the investigation. Assistant Chief Constable Terry Sweeney, has been served with a gross misconduct notice over allegations GMP secretly disposed of the human remains of Harold Shipman’s victims.

It is no surprise to learn that Peter Fahy has appeared in a Common Purpose promotional video “What makes for successful collaboration?” He is also a member of UNCIVPOL- United Nations Civilian Police.

Can the involvement of Common Purpose Graduates in the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust case, the Leveson Inquiry and their presence in the networked strategic partnerships which failed to protect vulnerable children in Rotherham be simply explained as coincidental?

Further revelations of our investigation will be revealed in the Issue 1/2015 edition of the UK Column newspaper.

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