A long-awaited review into allegations of child sexual exploitation in Oldham has been delayed yet again. The review, which is investigating the effectiveness of multi-agency responses to child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Oldham, was first commissioned in November 2019 by the council and safeguarding board. The allegations it is investigating chiefly concern ‘shisha bars, taxi companies and children’s homes’, according to the terms of reference.
Before last Christmas the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, had pledged the report would be published in the week commencing January 24. However he has now confirmed there will be another ‘short delay’ in releasing the report. This is said to be because ‘some people taking part in the review do not feel they have said everything they wanted to.’
It is being carried out by Malcolm Newsam, a former commissioner for social care in Rotherham, and Gary Ridgway, a former Detective Superintendent of Cambridgeshire Police, who were behind the blistering report into Operation Augusta in Manchester.
Oldham council leader Arooj Shah told the LDRS: ‘While the delay isn’t ideal I do understand the reasons behind it. I’d rather have a robust review which deals with all the issues and concerns that people have.’
Burnham had previously said that an ‘unforeseen delay’ meant the report would not be published into the New Year, after the combined authority and council chiefs had previously said it would be released in December.
Councillors in the borough have previously warned that delays to publication of the report further risked undermining the trust with the public and victims.
The remit of the review is to examine historical allegations relating to child sexual exploitation in Oldham and to consider whether the council and its partners – including Greater Manchester Police – provided an appropriate response to protect children.
Comments in the Manchester Evening News over the delay included:
‘Got to keep it hidden, campaigning for the local elections will be starting soon’.
‘Copying his mentor in spin Blair – anyone seen the Iraq WMD dossier?’
‘Cultural sensitivity must be maintained in every town and city in the UK where these crime’s are committed daily by the usual suspects’.
‘Quick everybody, resign with your pensions, I’ve delayed it a few more weeks’.
“A man is known by the company he keeps”Aesop – a Greek Storyteller
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