Senior civil servant recognises efforts to tackle CSE
Telford & Wrekin Council and its partners’ efforts to tackle child sexual exploitation have been recognised by a senior civil servant following a visit to the town by government officials.
Jeremy Oppenheim, the Home Office’s Director of Safeguarding, has written to the council’s managing director Richard Partington to thank him for a well organised and thorough visit.
His letter says: “The team were encouraged by the commitment of the staff that they met, such as the Children Abused Through Exploitation team working with young people at risk of sexual exploitation.
“There appeared to be a strong partnership working ethos, as demonstrated by the Family Connect service with its co-located social work, health and policing teams.
“The team was pleased to note the focus of Superintendent Tom Harding and his team on achieving the best outcomes for victims regardless of Criminal Justice System outcomes. It was also encouraging to hear that the police are using intelligence more effectively to identify risk.
“While the team left with a positive impression of the work being carried out inTelford, the procedures for formal inspection remains the test against which services should be judged and we expect to see improvements formally recognisedt hrough upcoming inspections.”
Councillor Paul Watling, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet for Children, Young People and Communities, said: “There has been a lot of publicity on this issue inr elation to Telford and Wrekin, which is perhaps not surprising because of the Operation Chalice case.
“Howevert he reality is somewhat different, as recognised by the council’s independent scrutiny review, last year’s OFSTED inspection of our Children and FamilyServices and also the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Safeguarding during a live debate in Westminster Hall.
“All of these have noted that partner agencies in Telford are working well together to tackle the issue of child sexual exploitation and we are pleased that this has been supported by the Home Office’s Director of Safeguarding, following the visit here by Home Office and Department for Education officials.
“However,we will never rest on our laurels and will strive to continue to raise awareness of the issue. While there is one case in the borough, that is one case too many and the welfare and safety of our young will remain our top priority.”
Superintendent Tom Harding, of West Mercia Police, said: “I am pleased that the Home Office has identified good partnership working and a commitment to tackle child sexual exploitation following an increase in staffing levels.”