Leader says council ‘naïve’ to think child sexual exploitation cases do not take place

By Charlotte Green Local Democracy Reporter

OLDHAM Council would be ‘naive’ to think cases of child sexual exploitation do not take place, says leader, Councillor Sean Fielding as he called for people with ‘evidence’ to contact safeguarding leaders.An independent review is due to take place into allegations of historic child sexual exploitation in the borough, dating back to 2012, which have been made concerning ‘shisha bars, taxi companies and children’s homes’.

Earlier this month, a report into child sex exploitation in Manchester, commissioned by Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, highlighted the failings of Greater Manchester Police and social workers during their Operation Augusta investigation

The police operation was “prematurely closed down” after officers decided to “remove resources’ despite children being groomed and raped by gangs.

Safeguarding concerns in Oldham were raised last September and in November it was announced academic, Dr Mark Peel, who had originally been commissioned to lead the review, had stepped down before it had begun.

Chiefs said they were writing to Mayor Andy Burnham to request the Oldham investigation be combined with an ongoing review into sexual and criminal exploitation of children and young people across Greater Manchester.

At the January full council meeting, Cllr Fielding provided an update on the progress of the review, which he said would be as ‘effective and thorough as possible’.

He said he was ‘grateful’ to survivors who had spoken about their experiences and said the review would identify whether more could have been done to ‘protect or support them’.

He told members the project would be led by Malcolm Newsam CBE and Gary Ridgeway, a former commissioner for social care in Rotherham and Detective Superintendent in Cambridgeshire Police respectively.

“Malcolm and Gary will bring their huge experience in children’s social care and policing to the work,” he said.

“I can assure residents they will have the full cooperation of the council for anything that they require,” he said.

“For the review team to conduct their work effectively it is absolutely vital that anyone with evidence of historic failings presents these for consideration.

“As we have previously said, if anybody has evidence of offences, recent or historic, or concerns about the safety of an individual or group of individuals, please contact Oldham’s multi-agency safeguarding hub in the first instance.

“If the reviewers do not have full information our ability to learn lessons from the past is restricted and may put young people at risk.

“Child sexual exploitation is abhorrent. It would be naive to think that cases of child sexual exploitation do not take place, and the council and our partners must be equipped to prevent and detect them in all their forms.

“I am grateful to the survivors who have spoken about their experiences and am confident that if the council or our partners could have done more to protect or support them and others that Malcolm and Gary will identify this.”

The review team would dictate the timeline, but also recognised the ‘need for public clarity as soon as possible’ over the allegations.

“Since allegations of malpractice around historic child sexual exploitation cases first surfaced, we have taken them seriously,” he said.

“It is important that residents feel assured that the council and its partners are doing everything possible to keep children safe.”

In a statement, the council previously said that the review would also look at the extent to which historical actions and employment records have been ‘adequately investigated’ in the case of ‘known offenders’ previously employed within Oldham public services.

6 Replies to “Leader says council ‘naïve’ to think child sexual exploitation cases do not take place”

  1. Here we are witnessing what is known in the trade as a political PIVOT!
    A tactic used by our so called political elite, when they know the game is up and they have been well and truly hooked!
    They take the first opportunity to pretend that they were onside all along, despite previously avoiding questions after
    being pressed to take action in Council chamber, by the public they are supposed to serve.

    In that meeting of the Council, we witnessed the suspension of proceedings several times and the Police being called. We saw a Liberal Councillor almost brought to the point of tears because it was all to much for his sensitive liberal values. . . Then to the obvious dismay of Councillor Fielding, the Police sided with the public gallery and refused to intervene. In what was the legitimate questioning of political representatives over this grave Child Sexual Exploitation issue.

    A second attempt to deflect and put to bed the CSE issue, was attempted in the subsequent Council meeting by none other than the Labour Deputy Council leader, who gave a tearful and emotional speech on abuse, for which she received a standing ovation from our intrepid Councillors. But it was not the ruined lives of vulnerable young Oldham girls being abused to which she referred. No! It was of her own sensitivities about and upset at Tweets that had been sent, as she played the ‘victim card’ with the efficiency of a seasoned professional.

    It was noted that certain Labour Councillors and others did not fall for this well known tactic of ‘deflection’ and remained seated which provides them with a little credibility, not much, but a little!

    Now that the powers that be, at national regional level, have all rallied behind the cry for justice and called for investigation and prosecution . . . . Labour Councillor Fielding now belatedly pins his colours to the mast, too little too late and insincere….
    Labour who knew?

  2. Bare faced lies one council meeting to a 360 degree turnaround the next.

    Sean Fielding, Jim McMahon, Debbie Abraham’s and Cllr Shah are all fully aware of the coverups and how Oldham Council, social services and the Police have failed these poor girls. Action to make these people pay must be delivered.

  3. To use. Mr Fieldinds’ own words, what he is saying today, are “ bare faced lies.”
    When Raja Miah raised these serious issues last year, with the brilliant expose “Welcome to Oldham” he received a torrent of abuse from Mr Fielding and his cohorts on the Labour led Council. He was accused of Political Posturing and that his claims had no basis of truth. The girls, Mr Miah mentioned were, in Mr Fieldings own words “attention seeking” . Mr Fielding bragged, on his own blog, (Oct 3rd 2019 ) saying that he was proud to have had 3 petitions and 2 medium articles relating to CSE, taken down. He wrote, ( and I quote ) “ there is still a hardcore of people clinging on, desperately wanting it to be true. Sadly they are just people with an anti Labour agenda, who can’t attack on policy and so use allegations from a discredited individual who has provided no evidence. There are two points of reply.
    1. The people “ clinging on “, as you say, desperately wanted it NOT to be true.
    2. We have more than enough evidence and statements, that these disgusting events not only took place, but that the Police, the Council, ( particularly you as leader ) and the previous incumbent, Jim McMahon, we’re complicit in covering matters up, and preventing the truth from being published.
    The complete apathy shown by you,,,and Mr McMahon, has allowed the continued violation of young white Girls of Oldham. Under your watch and supposedly your protection, these vulnerable young girls have been plied with drink and hard drugs, systematically groomed, exploited and raped, by gangs of predominantly Pakistani and Bangladeshi men. All of this has happened and still is, ON YOUR WATCH.
    I hope you sleep well at nights.
    Steve D’Rane

  4. 1. They knew everything that went on. 2. Who is going to pay these eminent people to carry out an enquiry that the leaders of the council and police and safeguarding caused guess who council tax payers

  5. I was at both meetings when Sean Fielding firstly called the CSE and I quote ” bare faced lies” that was a terrible comment to make but it really just goes to show really how naive he really is and such an immature Co. Ment he certainly does not deserve his position in council
    The council meeting this year he addressed the chamber with his turn around speech as you will have read I was shocked to sit in the public gallery and listen to him stand before his comrades and Lady Mayoress with a gloating speech in a complete turn around
    He definatly needs to learn that he can not get away with speeches like this in public view and needs to learn there’s no way to turn now

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