Today during Home Office questions in Parliament, local MP Lucy Allan again raised her concerns about the lack of progress in beginning the independent inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in Telford.
Following a two year survivor led campaign which began in 2016, last year Telford & Wrekin Council agreed to commission an independent inquiry into CSE in the town.
The local authority previously resisted such an inquiry claiming that lessons had been learnt, cited recent Ofsted findings that rated their work ‘good’ and referred to IICSA which they claimed would look at what happened in Telford.
Telford & Wrekin Council has now appointed the law firm Eversheds Sutherland as the Commissioning Body for the inquiry who will now begin the recruitment process for a Chair to lead the inquiry and set the terms of reference.
Ms Allan will be meeting with Home Office Ministers this week in Parliament to discuss with them her concerns about possible risk young people in Telford May be subject to due lack of progress of the inquiry. During the meeting Ms Allan will ask the Government to consider that in the absence of any sense of urgency by the local authorities, that Government itself commission an independent review to enable a much quicker assessment of what is happening in Telford.
Speaking in Parliament, Lucy Allan said:
“The authorities in Telford who agreed to hold an inquiry into CSE a year ago, have only now, in the last week, started to look for a Chair to lead that promised inquiry.
“Learning lessons from the past is vital to protecting our young people today, does the Secretary of State agree with me that the shocking lack of urgency in getting this inquiry started could place more young people at risk of CSE in Telford?”
Responding Junior Minister Victoria Atkins MP said:
“I am pleased there has been some progress albeit small steps of progress. Of course as a good constituency MP she will continue to pressure the local council to ensure that it continues with its work expeditiously.”
Commenting after Home Office Questions Lucy Allan said:
“I am disappointed that the Minister thinks it is ‘progress’ to take a full year to be in a position to advertise for a Chair to lead such an important inquiry. CSE is still happening in Telford. There are lessons to learn which would enable the authorities to better protect our young people today. We are now hearing the inquiry could take up to 4 years which is wholly unacceptable. How many more victims might there be in this time?
“I look forward to meeting with Home Office Ministers later this week and having the opportunity to set out in more detail my concerns about the current risk to young people in Telford. I believe it is now time for the Government to step in and commission an independent review as it seems clear that the authorities locally have no appetite for an investigation into what went wrong in Telford.”