Damning report calls for safeguarding improvements in Rochdale

By Neil Puffett

| 24 May 2013

Rochdale Council did not do enough to prevent teenage girls being groomed and abused in the borough, a report has found.

Nine men were convicted last year in relation to child sexual exploitation in Rochdale. Image: Rogan Macdonald

An independent review ordered by the council following the conviction of nine men last year, found that the authority had failed to learn from other child sexual exploitation cases dating back to 1997, including some in neighbouring authorities.

The report also highlighted fears among staff at the council that a wide-scale awareness raising campaign may not be sustained.

It makes a series of recommendations to the council including that it conducts a review within children’s social care of the roles and responsibilities of social workers and managers with regards to safeguarding arrangements around grooming.

The council is also advised to keep under review the level of resourcing made available to the prevention, detection and prosecution of child sexual exploitation to ensure that children and young people are safeguarded and supported appropriately.

The authority is also encouraged to build on its awareness raising activities and engage more widely with organisations that have relevant and recent experience of child sexual exploitation to learn from them.

Jim Taylor, chief executive of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “It is clear from this review that some children were let down by Rochdale Council.

“On behalf of the council, I am deeply sorry these young people did not get the care and support they deserved.

“We must never forget that the sexual exploitation of children is an appalling crime carried out by the worst kind of criminals.

“But keeping children safe from harm is the most important thing a local authority does, and we accept the conclusions and recommendations in the report.

“This review paints a poor picture of the way elements of Rochdale Council has previously been run.

“Hard-working, dedicated staff were also let down by some senior managers who appear to have shown no leadership and taken no responsibility.

“I am absolutely determined to ensure these mistakes are never repeated.”

The report follows another review commissioned by Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board, published in September 2012, which highlighted a series of missed opportunities to protect victims of sexual exploitation.



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