Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, as part of his police and crime commissioner responsibilities, has accepted a request from the Leader of Oldham Council and the Chair of Oldham Safeguarding Partnership that an existing Greater Manchester-commissioned independent review into historical safeguarding practice across the region be extended to Oldham with its own terms of reference and stand-alone report.
Oldham Safeguarding Partnership originally decided to commission an independent review following allegations being made about historical safeguarding practice.
The safeguarding agencies in Oldham (including the three statutory safeguarding partners: Oldham Council, GMP and NHS) are continually working to improve current practice.
In addition to the review into historical practice, Oldham will continue to work in partnership with other GM boroughs, supported by the GM Safeguarding Hub, to strengthen current safeguarding practice.
Questions and answers
Who is conducting the review?
The review will be conducted by Malcolm Newsam CBE and Gary Ridgeway, as part of their work to review historical cases of CSE in Greater Manchester and apply any lessons that can further improve current practice.
Malcolm Newsam has extensive experience in relation to Children’s Services and Safeguarding and has provided diagnostic intervention and improvement support to a range of councils across the country.
Gary Ridgway was previously a Detective Superintendent in Cambridgeshire Police and Head of Public Protection. He has pioneered proactive victim-led child sexual exploitation (CSE) investigations and led Operation Erle which resulted in the successful conviction of ten offenders
What will the review look at?
The review will, as originally planned, consider allegations relating to CSE, including the allegations relating to shisha bars in 2012/13. It will also consider a number of other specific matters where concerns have been raised that sit outside this timeframe.
It will look at how statutory safeguarding partners responded to CSE with particular reference to the concerns expressed in social media, and elsewhere, that the statutory agencies were aware of this abuse, failed to respond appropriately to safeguard children and subsequently covered up these failings.
You originally announced that Dr Mark Peel would conduct the review – why did he stand down from the process?
Dr Peel, who was originally commissioned to conduct the review, decided to step down.
The Leader of Oldham Council and the Leader of Oldham Safeguarding Partnership subsequently made the request to Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, who has police and crime commissioner responsibilities, that a review into historical safeguarding practice be extended to Oldham.
Won’t the focus on Oldham become diluted if it forms part of a wider GMCA review?
In September 2017 the Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Bev Hughes, commissioned an independent assurance exercise in relation to CSE.
Within the scope of this work was the review into decision making and practice in respect of historical CSE investigations, including a specific investigation from 2003-2005. At this stage the scope of this work did not include Oldham.
The Mayor has accepted a request from the Leader of the Council and the Chair of The Oldham Safeguarding Partnership that this element of the assurance process is extended to Oldham.
This work will be focused solely on Oldham, with its own terms of reference and a stand-alone report will result from the review.
Will the review be truly independent?
Yes. The independence of the review is critical to the work
The review will be conducted by an independent review team and the process will be assured by the Greater Manchester Safeguarding Standards Board and its independent Chair.
When will the review start?
Preparatory work is already underway.
Terms of reference:
How do I report concerns?
If you have evidence of offences, recent or historical, or concerns about the safety of an individual or group of individuals, please contact The Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub
Alternatively, you can complete an online referral form: