The independent review into historic child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Oldham was released on Monday and makes for difficult reading.
To all the victims referenced in the report, on behalf of Oldham Council, I wholeheartedly apologise. The things you experienced as children and young people, are things no child should ever experience.
The report is clear; council and police services at the time were not good enough to protect vulnerable young people suffering the most awful abuse.
The report did not find any evidence of a cover up between the council and the police to hide child abuse, it does state that while there was a political will to tackle this issue, this was not always reflected on the ground and that progress was slow.
As a council, we have not stood still since the time the report references or in the 2.5 years since the report was commissioned.
We have learned from reports carried out in other towns and cities across the country, and from changes in national guidance, and have changed the way we do things as a result. The way we work has already moved on immeasurably.
However, we can never be complacent when it comes to safeguarding children, it is a continuous journey of improvement and one in which every council in the country is on.
I know that people in Oldham will have their own questions on the report and will want to raise their concerns with us.
That’s why we’ve called an Extraordinary Council meeting for Monday, June 27. It will be held at 6pm in the council chamber at the Civic Centre, and will also be screened on the council’s website.
Anyone who would like to send in a question can do so via the Oldham Council website before 12noon pm on Sunday, June 26.
We have also opened a new dedicated phone line for people affected by issues raised in the Report. Anyone who needs to make a report to us of incidents that occurred in the past, can speak to our team of trained professionals on 0161 770 1045.
Cllr Amanda Chadderton