Oldham council to request government review into historic child sexual exploitation

Oldham council will request a government-led review into historic child sexual exploitation in the borough following the bombshell report commissioned by Greater Manchester’s combined authority.

Following the Rochdale grooming scandal, a review into cases in neighbouring Oldham was requested by the town hall. Commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) in 2019, it looked into suspected issues in the borough.

Cases in Oldham between 2011 and 2014 were reviewed, with the role council services played in protecting – or failing to protect – vulnerable children put under the spotlight.

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Published in 2022, the report was damning. It found evidence the council had failed vulnerable children, despite efforts made to protect them. But it found ‘no evidence’ of a town hall-led ‘cover up’ or an organised ring operating on the level of that in Rochdale.

There was immediate criticism of the inquiry’s ‘limited scope’ and calls for a government-led investigation, independent of the GMCA. Survivors of abuse, families and others said the timeframe was too narrow and that too few cases were considered.

Failsworth Independent Councillor Brian Hobin said survivors ‘wanted a voice’

At several council meetings since then, calls for another inquiry have been furiously debated, often accompanied by public protests.

After Labour lost overall control of the council at May’s local elections, council leader Arooj Shah struck a deal with independent councillors and gained their support, including backing calls to the government for a new CSE inquiry.