Agenda item

Leader's Report & Announcements

The Leader of the Council may give an oral report on matters of significance to the Borough, comment upon the Cabinet decisions or make any announcements.


The Independent Inquiry, that published its report into child sexual exploitation

on Tuesday 12 July 2022, highlighted the pain and distress victims and survivors had gone through.


The Leader thanked them for sharing their experiences with the Inquiry; their

tenacity and resilience in speaking up was extraordinary.


The Leader stated the Council was deeply sorry for the pain and suffering that

had been caused.


He also thanked The Sunday Mirror and Geraldine McKelvie for shining a light

on child sexual exploitation in Telford and supporting the victims and survivors

in telling their personal and harrowing stories.


Additionally, the Council acknowledged the hard work of the Inquiry chair,

Tom Crowther QC, and his team who worked on the Inquiry.


The report, commissioned by the Council, dated back to 1989 and it heard

evidence dating back to the 1970s.


In 1989, the Leader was 3 years of age. He was proud to come from Telford

and it had been a wonderful place to grow up.


However, it clearly was not the same for many children and young people.

This brought great sadness.


As a Telford dad and a corporate parent, the Leader was more determined

than ever to make this a safe and happy place for future generations.


The report had found areas where more could have been done over the last

three decades to support victims and survivors and their families.


Even though the Inquiry acknowledged significant and transformational

improvements since 2016, and the inquiry specifically stated that services

today were good, the Council fully accepted and would act on all of the

Inquiry’s recommendations in full.


It was for all; every elected Member, Council officer, and every partner to

ensure these recommendations were fully implemented.


The Leader would be speaking to the Conservative and Liberal Democrat

group leaders and the Police & Crime Commissioner about how they could

work together to take the recommendations forward.


One early concern from victims and survivors was the funding of the CATE

team, the team of dedicated professionals who were at the forefront of the

response to tackling child sexual exploitation, and who were commended

throughout by the Inquiry. The report proposed that the team was properly

funded for the next 5 years. The Leader made a commitment that funding

would be protected, not just for the next 5 years but also beyond as long as

Labour led the Council.


The Leader was humbled and thankful in equal measure that survivors Holly

Archer and Scarlett Jones had agreed to be part of the implementation

process moving forward. Working together, they would co-design the

Council’s response to the Inquiry’s recommendations; to make sure it was

doing the very best it could for those people who needed it the most.


He thanked Scarlett and Holly for holding the Council to account and for

agreeing to be part of the Authority’s journey moving forward.


Together, everybody could ensure that a future that we can be proud about is

built, a future that ensured that children and grandchildren, now and for

generations to come, were safe and happy in Telford and share in the positive

experiences a child growing up here in Telford and Wrekin should experience.