Council agrees to debate on CSE review
Date published: 10 June 2021
Arooj Shah has said the report findings will be debated by the council
The leader of Oldham Council says she will ensure the findings of an investigation into allegations of historic child sexual exploitation in the town is debated by councillors.
Cllr Arooj Shah was responding to a request from Oldham Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr Howard Sykes MBE, to allow full council to discuss the findings of the report, which is due shortly.
In a letter to Cllr Sykes, Cllr Shah said the authority must "reflect with the utmost seriousness on any failures the review uncovers"
She added: "Anyone who experiences CSE today or in the future should know that they can rely on the safeguarding team in Oldham to give them full support."
"The review is completely independent of the Council, and therefore I cannot guarantee when they will finish their work and provide their report. They have been asked to explore whatever they feel it is important to look at, and we should not and cannot restrict that by imposing a deadline."
Oldham Council and the Oldham Safeguarding Partnership commissioned the report in 2019, following allegations made on social media surrounding child sexual exploitation. Last year, the Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester suggested the findings would be published in the "middle of 2021".
Cllr Sykes welcomed the committment to a council debate: “I am still hoping that we shall see the full report in advance of the July meeting and to be able to debate it, but we may still all need to be patient a little bit longer. The timetable of the review is outside of Oldham Council’s control.
"If July is not possible, then we shall debate it soon and I welcome the promised update on progress next month."
The review is considering allegations relating to CSE, including the allegations relating to shisha bars in 2012/13. It is also considering a number of other specific matters where concerns have been raised that sit outside this timeframe.
The investigation is also assessing how statutory safeguarding partners responded to CSE with particular reference to the concerns expressed in social media, and if authorities were aware of this abuse, failed to respond appropriately to safeguard children and subsequently covered up the failings.
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