Independent Inquiry into child sexual exploitation takes next step forward
An independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford, paid for by Telford & Wrekin Council, has taken a significant step forward after the second meeting of a member advisory group.
The cross party group of six councillors, who have now been joined by four representatives of survivors of child sexual exploitation, has agreed to start the process that will appoint an independent commissioning body, which will in turn appoint an independent chairman or woman to lead the inquiry.
This “double independence” process – with an independent commissioning body and independent inquiry chair is to help maximise public confidence in the fairness and integrity of the council-commissioned inquiry.
Members at last night’s meeting agreed a draft Specification that will now allow the Council to procure a suitable independent Commissioning Body.
Procurement notices will be published next week and it is expected that the successful Commissioning Body can be in place by the end of this summer when it can then begin the process to appoint an independent chair who will run the inquiry.
In April, the Council supported commissioning its own independent inquiry and it has set aside an initial allocation of £350,000 for this.
At the group’s first meeting in May, councillors unanimously agreed that the representatives of survivors of child sexual exploitation victims from Telford should be co-opted to sit on the Advisory Body to ensure that victims’ views are heard from the outset.
A webcast of the meeting is here