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It’s been two years since Rotherham Council hit the headlines over its failings to deal with child sexual exploitation (CSE). Since then there have been significant changes happening at a local level. Here, we catch up with CSE Team Manager, Kellie Murphy, who is working within Evolve; a newly created team tackling CSE in Rotherham.

What is Evolve?

“Evolve is Rotherham’s multi-agency specialist team tackling CSE. The team is one of the first of its kind in the country and consists of social workers, Pace (Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation), a child sexual exploitation specialist nurse, a Barnardo's project worker, a children's social care operational manager, business support staff and police officers. We operate out of a single building opposite the town hall and provide ‘wrap around’ support and protection to children and their families.”

What attracted you to work within children’s services at Rotherham?

“When I applied for the role, I knew Rotherham had its difficulties, but where there are such crucial improvements needed there is funding available to make change happen. Because of this, at Rotherham, there’s an opportunity as a manager and practitioner to be more innovative, to partner with agencies and to draw upon different resources when required.”

Did you have previous CSE experience before starting work at Rotherham?

“Yes I did. When Doncaster set up its CSE team I managed the referral and response team and made a number of referrals where I suspected CSE was a possibility. It was through working in this MASH style referral and safeguarding structure that I learned to recognise the indicators.”

What support is available to staff?

“Even though we are based in a separate building, we still feel part of a bigger team working together to make services better at Rotherham. I feel supported myself and, as a manager, I also make sure my team feels supported. It’s very much a transparent culture where everyone has a chance to have their say. I make sure that I check in with each member of the team to make sure they are not struggling with their workload; and if they are, we collectively look at ways to relieve some of the pressure.”

What are the benefits of agencies working closer together?

“CSE doesn’t naturally fit directly into child protection; it’s very much an issue that occurs outside of the family home, and so it requires a co-ordinated approach.

“Certainly, working directly alongside other agencies has benefited my practice. For example, my team and I have adopted the Barnardo’s youth intervention approach and we continuously work with partners to establish new ways to disrupt the behavioural patterns that make young people vulnerable to CSE.” 

Would you recommend Rotherham as a good place to work?

“Yes I do, although as with any role, you have to make the opportunity what it is and much of this is down to each individual’s mentality. Rotherham is no different in its problems than many other areas. I’ve worked at local authorities Ofsted rated as ‘good’ and improvements are still needed. One of the advantages Rotherham has is that the funding exists to really make change happen and for frontline practitioners wanting to be part of that change it’s a rewarding place to be.” 

Could you tell us about your experience of working with Sanctuary?

“I’ve always had a good experience. As a social work practitioner and manager it can be really difficult to get all your skills and knowledge across on a CV, especially when it comes to explaining your experience in a specialist area such as CSE.

“Sanctuary Social Care worked closely with me to understand how my work in referral and assessment at Doncaster was directly transferable to the role advertised at Rotherham. They were able to speak directly at length with my employer about my specific skill-set, which played a vital role in me being selected for interview and being offered the job.”

If you are interested in working in Rotherham, we are recruiting for a range of roles. For more information, please visit

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