The news that the independent report into child sex exploitation (CSE) in Oldham has been delayed until the new year is “further undermining the trust that needs to be rebuilt” according to Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani.
GM Mayor Andy Burnham has announced that the report will now be released in the week commencing January 24, citing both delays with Queen’s Counsel Advice, and the wishes of victims of CSE not to release the report in the run up to Christmas.
Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani said: “The most important people in the whole process are the survivors of violence, and I absolutely respect their wishes not to see the report published at this time of year.
“What I then question is why we had been told previously that the report would be released now? That should already have been considered, and we should not have been told the report would be released before the end of the year.
“The same applies to the QC’s advice. This should have been allowed for in the process, and should have been planned for.”
“This is not the first time that we have been given a date for the publication of the report, and then down the line, it has shifted.”
The report is being produced by the team that conducted the hard-hitting investigation into CSE in Rotherham.
Councillor Al-Hamdani continued: “One of the most terrible aspects of this form of abuse is that it breaks down people’s trust, and it is vital that promises are kept, to stop that trust from breaking down further.
“It is inevitable that this report criticise the Council, and the other organisations involved, and change will be necessary. There must be no glib statements that ‘lessons have been learnt’. We will need to respond to the report thoroughly, responsibly and with open honesty about the Council’s role. That must start with an end to this catalogue of missed dates.”