Experienced child protection expect Professor Alexis Jay has been confirmed as the latest chair of the child sex abuse inquiry.

Jay (pictured) becomes the fourth chair of the independent inquiry following the departure earlier this month of Dame Lowell Goddard - and the first without a legal professional qualification. 

However the social worker, whose appointment was announced by home secretary Amber Rudd today, has more than 30 years’ experience in child protection.

She led the independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham which found that at least 1,400 children were subjected to appalling sexual exploitation in the town between 1997 and 2013.

Jay said she is committed to ensuring the inquiry moves along ‘with pace, with confidence and with clarity’.

‘Be in no doubt – the inquiry is open for business and people are busier than ever working hard to increase momentum,’ she said.

‘The panel and I are determined to make progress on all parts of the inquiry’s work, including speaking to victims and survivors. I am determined to overcome the challenges along the way.

‘I will lead the largest public inquiry of its kind and together with my fellow panel members we will fearlessly examine institutional failures, past and present and make recommendations so that the children of England and Wales are better protected now and in the future.’

Rudd said Jay has a strong track record for uncovering the truth and would run the inquiry with ‘vigour, compassion and courage’.

The first choice of chair, Baroness Butler-Sloss, resigned after a week, while her replacement, Dame Fiona Woolf, also left the post after a short period in October 2014.