Oldham’s people deserve the chance to question those responsible for its policing and care services at a Council meeting covering the independent investigation into CSE, say Oldham’s Liberal Democrats.
The Council has previously agreed to the Liberal Democrats’ request for a specific meeting to address the topic when the report is finally released. The Liberal Democrats want this pledge reaffirmed. They are also calling for GMP chief constable Stephen Watson, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, and the senior leadership of the Council, in particular the Cabinet Member for children’s services, to face questioning on any issues that the report brings up.
Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani said: “It is vital for the people of Oldham to have confidence not only in the report, but in obtaining justice for survivors, and ensuring that services have changed, and continue to change for the better.
“That must mean that both councillors and the public having the opportunity to raise questions that need to be answered.
We recognise the importance of members of the public having their chance to speak – for Oldham to come together and build back trust, this cannot be about political point scoring, from inside or outside the Council chamber. Instead, it must be about honest acknowledgement of any issues, and an open and frank assessment of how things need to change.”
The investigation addressed specific reports of CSE, but also had a broader portfolio to pursue where the evidence took them. Leaked sections of the report have already shown that it has covered serious flaws in procedure from 2006.
Fellow Liberal Democrat Councillor Mark Kenyon said: “We have already seen a series of arrests taking place with regards to grooming which took place in 2012–13, and there may be further criminal investigations which take place alongside this report.
“If GMP are one of the organisations identified in the report, it is vital that they can be held to account. We need to know that not only can they bring offenders to account, but that they will be operating to the highest standards now, and will address any failures that there have been in the past.”