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Independent group to run inquiry on Telford child sexual exploitation

By Dominic Robertson | Telford | News | Published:

An independent group will be put in charge of planning and running an inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford.

Telford & Wrekin Council's CSE inquiry member advisory group will meet next Tuesday to approve the next stage of plans to investigate the abuse of young people in Telford & Wrekin.

The group will be asked to approve a tender process to select commissioners who would then be placed in charge of the inquiry.

A report prepared for the meeting says the commissioning would be "the first stage of moving the independent inquiry out of control of the council".

The paper says the council wants to ensure it remains at "arms length" to the inquiry.

It states: "Initial proposals, as agreed by cabinet on April 19, talked of commissioning an independent organisation, the commissioning body, to be responsible for the planning and organisation of an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford & Wrekin.

"The objective of the “double independent” process proposed was to provide public assurance that, otherwise than providing evidence to the Inquiry, the council would remain at arms-length to the inquiry process."

The inquiry was sparked by reports in the national media focusing on cases where a number of young girls were abused, including those who were victims of the men jailed as a result of Operation Chalice.

One paper claimed there had been as many as 1,000 victims of CSE in Telford over the previous 20 years.

The council has said the objective of the inquiry is to find out what went wrong and hold those responsible to account.

A draft specification for the inquiry says its objective is "to give the public confidence that the issues relating to child sexual exploitation are being fully investigated and dealt with, to establish the facts in respect of child sexual exploitation in Telford & Wrekin, to identify where public services have gone wrong, and, if appropriate, who is accountable for those failures and, most importantly of all help properly to support survivors and victims and enable them to move forward with their life in the way that is best for them."

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