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15 July 2022 | Podcasts | Article by Alun Jones

The Oldham Report: HJ Talks About Abuse

The Oldham Report: HJ Talks About AbuseThe Oldham Report: HJ Talks About AbuseThe Oldham Report: HJ Talks About Abuse

In this episode of HJ Talks about Abuse, Alan, Danielle and Feleena discuss the Oldham Report which was published in June 2022. The independent inquiry was set up after allegations circulated that Oldham Council was covering up child sexual exploitation. The report examined the way child sexual exploitation was tackled between 2011 and 2014 by the council and Greater Manchester Police.

For those who wish to read the report in full it is available here: The review into historic safeguarding practices in Oldham (greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk)

The review was commissioned by Oldham Council in November 2019, with the intention to independently review the safeguarding practices in Oldham. The key areas of the report are:

  1. Allegations made on social media about the risks posed to children from local shisha establishments during 2011–14
  2. Allegations made on social media about the nature and extent to which adults had inappropriate access to children and young people resident in children’s homes in Oldham, putting them at risk of harm during 2011–14
  3. Allegations made on social media about the nature and extent of the use of local taxi services to access children and young people for the purposes of sexual exploitation during 2011–14
  4. Allegations or concerns expressed in relation to specific cases, including complaints made in a letter by ‘Sophie’ to the leader of Oldham Council in November 2019 19
  5. The cases of known offenders previously employed within Oldham Council and the extent to which the historical actions and employment records have been adequately investigated by the Council. Referred to as Offender A, Offender B Offender C Offender D Councillor Y and Councillor T
  6. The alleged victimisation of Councillor V
  7. The allegation that Councillor Z was punished for being a whistle-blower

The report did not find that there was a “cover up” of child sexual exploitation by member of the council or the police, as has been alleged.

However, the report did find structural flaws in Greater Manchester Police and the council’s systems which were meant to safeguard children.

The report specifies some specific failings in relation to children and the employment of Shabir Ahmed. Ahmed was the ring-leader of a notorious grooming gang in Rochdale, and was employed by Oldham Council as a welfare rights officer and seconded to the Oldham Pakistani Community Centre. The police were found to have failed to inform his employer of his arrest for sexual assault of children, which had a devastating effect.

Maggie Oliver, a detective whoresigned from Greater Manchester Policeover the way grooming cases in Rochdale were handled, said:

“Another day, yet another report about the failures of a police force to protect the most vulnerable in our society, even when there is irrefutable evidence to prosecute offenders and safeguard children. This report yet again clearly evidences catastrophic failings by the force.”

Author bio

Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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