Telford child sex abuse: Council agrees to hold extraordinary meeting
Telford & Wrekin Council will hold an extraordinary meeting on child sexual exploitation in the coming weeks.
The council's speaker has agreed to hold the meeting on April 10 at Oakengates Theatre. It will be open to the public.
The extraordinary meeting is being held after requests from Councillor Andrew Eade and other councillors.
They will discuss a motion on an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation.
A government minister has responded to Telford MP Lucy Allan’s calls for a local inquiry into child sexual exploitation in the town
Local Government Minister Rishi Sunak MP said a inquiry should be considered, but that it was ultimately up to Telford & Wrekin Council to decide.
The response was welcomed by both Ms Allan and leader of the council Shaun Davies.
Mr Sunak said his department would not block an inquiry if that was what the council decided to do.
He said there was no reason why a Telford & Wrekin Council ran inquiry could not be impartial, but warned that any efforts should not duplicate the work of national reviews.
In a letter to Ms Allan, he wrote: “Given the scale of this issue over many years, I am sure this is something the council will and should consider.
“Ultimately, however, it is for the council itself to decide how best to proceed.
“In outlining your views, you recognised that there was good practice now in place at Telford and Wrekin Council, as evidenced for example in the 2016 Ofsted inspection of the Council’s children’s services which singled out the council’s work in this area for praise.”
A review led by the right people can be independent, even if commissioned by the council itself, he said.
“Secondly, you asked whether this Ministry had any role in initiating such a council-commissioned inquiry. It is for the local council, not this ministry, to decide whether to initiate a focused, specific and proportionate review of what has happened in Telford. Obviously, this Ministry would not block such an inquiry if this is what Telford Council decides to do.”
Ms Allan said: “I welcome the Minister’s response and I am grateful for his help and ability to fully understand this issue and provide the clarity needed.
“We now know that there is nothing preventing Telford & Wrekin Council from initiating an inquiry themselves and I look forward to them commissioning such an inquiry at the earliest opportunity.”
Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council Shaun Davies said: “I welcome the letter. It’s nice to see the minister has praised and recognised our work.
“I note that it said it was important that it doesn’t replicate other inquiries. That’s a really critical point. What that would mean in practise, survivors would be potentially made to give evidence twice. Once to the inquiry and once to the national inquiry.”
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