Council leader’s review into historic safeguarding practices to form part of a wider Greater Manchester review
Date published: 22 November 2019
Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding
The Leader of Oldham Council’s review into historical safeguard processes will now form part of major work that is being carried across Greater Manchester to strengthen safeguarding practices.
The change comes after Dr Mark Peel, who was originally commissioned by the Oldham Safeguarding Partnership, stepped down from the review prior to its commencement. No reason has been given for his departure.
Cllr Sean Fielding and Henri Giller, Chair of Oldham Safeguarding Partnership, have jointly written to the Mayor Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Safeguarding Standards Board’s independent chair Jane Shuttleworth, to request that the review into safeguarding practices in the borough be combined into an extensive ongoing independent review into sexual and criminal exploitation of children and young people across the city region.
Mr Burnham has now appointed an independent review team to conduct the review while also ensuring that the GM Safeguarding Standards Board and Jane Shuttleworth provides assurance of the current processes.
As well as ensuring a rigorous approach to reviewing historic practice, this approach will also ensure that Oldham benefits from being one of the first boroughs to implement recommendations that will set new standards for safeguarding practice.
The remit of the GMCA review will still consider whether council, police and wider safeguarding agencies provided a suitable response to allegations of inappropriate access to young people involving shisha bars, taxi companies and children’s homes in 2012/13.
It will also, as originally planned, look at the extent to which historical actions and employment records have been adequately investigated in the case of known offenders previously employed within Oldham public services.
This review will only focus on historical allegations relating to child sexual exploitation.
There have been allegations relating to Oldham Council circulating on social media, but if members of the public have evidence of improper actions by individuals or agencies in Oldham they should approach GMP directly with their concerns.
The wider GMCA safeguarding assurance will look at current safeguarding practice across the entire partnership.
Henri Giller, Chair of the Safeguarding Partnership for Oldham, said: “There are many advantages to combining the work because the lens on safeguarding practice in Oldham will be as great, if not greater, than what was originally planned while the independent nature of the work will not be diminished.
‘Working with GM Complex Safeguarding Hub will enable Oldham to continue to benefit from the ongoing work across GM setting new standards or safeguarding practices.”
Mr Burnham (above) added: “Oldham Council has requested that a range of historical allegations around the sexual exploitation of children in the borough are examined by the ongoing independent review of child sexual exploitation that I set up with the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Bev Hughes.
"Malcolm Newsam and Gary Ridgeway, who are conducting the review, have agreed to consider these allegations as part of their work.
“I’m grateful that Malcolm and Gary have agreed to do this, as any allegations of child sexual abuse must be treated with the utmost seriousness.
“This review will only focus on historical allegations relating to child sexual exploitation.
"I’m aware there have been a number of unsubstantiated allegations relating to Oldham Council circulating on social media and if members of the public have evidence of improper actions by individuals or agencies in Oldham they should approach GMP directly with their concerns.
“The Deputy Mayor and I set up the review in 2017 following the broadcast of a documentary which contained serious allegations about child sexual exploitation.
"The first part of Malcolm and Gary’s review will be published in the coming weeks.”
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