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.