Venue: Hollingworth (Room 108ABC), First Floor, Number One Riverside, Smith Street, Rochdale, OL16 1XU. View directions
Contact: Peter Thomson 4715
Members of the Council, led by the Health, Schools and Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee will receive a presentation that should facilitate information and discussion about the following issues:
a. The inquiry: its background, scope and focus
b. Context and culture
c. Rochdale’s role
d. What happened to children in Cambridge house and Knowl View
e. Key areas of concern/failure
f. Political accountability
g. Could it happen now?
h. Where do we get assurance currently
i. What can Councillors learn from this?
j. Any questions?
Chair welcomed everybody to the meeting reminding those present
that the purpose was to discuss the findings of the national
Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICA) following its
investigation into historic events in Rochdale.
The Chair asked the Committee and others present to reflect that the national inquiry and the investigation was primarily about victims of child sexual abuse and to note that the inquiry had given them a voice after many years of them not having a voice.
The Chief Executive reported that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was established as an independent statutory inquiry under the Enquiries Act 2005 in March 2015, by the then Home Secretary Teresa May. In November 2015 the Inquiry announced that it would commence with 13 areas of investigation. One of those was “An inquiry into allegations of the sexual abuse and exploitation of children residing at or attending Cambridge House Boys’ Hostel, Knowl View School, and other institutions where their placement was arranged or provided by Rochdale Borough Council.” The Council had made its support for the Inquiry clear from the outset.
Public hearings had taken place over three weeks between 9th and 27th October 2017 in London where the Council was a core participant along with complainants, two police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Staff and politicians, past and present were called to give evidence alongside a wide range of evidence from witness statements and historical documents.
A report of the findings reached as a result of the hearing was published on 12th April 2018.
There followed a detailed presentation that was jointly delivered by the Chief Executive, the Director of Children’s Services and the Independent Chair of the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board. The presentation focused upon:
• The inquiry, background and focus
• Rochdale’s role
• What happened to children in Cambridge House and Knowl View
• Key areas of concern/failure
• Political Accountability
• Could it happen now?
• Where do we get assurance currently
• The role of Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Board
• Learning for councillors
The Chief Executive reiterated the apology that the Council had issued in respect of events that took place at Cambridge House and Knowl View and other establishments in Rochdale had cast shadows over the town for many years and have undoubtedly caused pain to many people.
In terms of whether such events could happen now the Director of Children’s Services ... view the full minutes text for item 61.