Preparatory work means child sexual exploitation inquiry can make efficient start
Months of preparatory work to pave the way for an independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Telford will mean it will progress efficiently and effectively when it gets under way, says a new report.
The report will go before the council’s Child Sexual Exploitation Advisory Committee when it meets on Wednesday 21 November.
It will highlight that a Commissioning Body is set to be appointed after a preferred provider was identified by the tendering process.
This independent Commissioning Body will appoint the independent inquiry chair. The identity of the successful bidder will be confirmed when the committee meets.
It also outlines everything that has been done by the authority since a Full Council meeting voted to commission and implement a non-statutory inquiry earlier this year.
The council has worked closely with survivors on the tender documentation for the Commissioning Body, including organising drop in sessions where anyone wanting more information about the process could come and ask questions about it.
The council has also supported the Survivors Committee to receive independent legal advice to help them fully understand the tender documentation.
Two representatives of the Survivors Committee attended the open day for bidders and observed the presentations and discussions during the day. The survivors were also represented when the council undertook the evaluation.
The Council has also enhanced the support that is available for survivors. This has included short term funding for the Holly Project, which has been set up by survivors to provide a drop in service and a safe place for individuals and families to get support and advice. A longer term service will be commissioned before next April.
The Council has in the meantime worked with survivors and those supporting them to develop the specification for longer term services which are currently out to tender.
All this work will support the inquiry to avoid delay.
In other work, the council has published a lot more detail about child sexual exploitation, outlined how people can report crimes and summarised the work that has been done in the borough to tackle the issue. All this can be found at www.telford.gov.uk/childsexualexploitation
Telford & Wrekin Council’s Monitoring Officer Jonathan Eatough said: “The Council has made it clear from the outset that it does not seek to influence the terms of reference of the inquiry, either in terms of extent or period. This must be wholly independent of the Council.
“The report to next week’s committee summarises the work completed since the Advisory Group last met in June 2018, much of which will help to support the inquiry.
“This includes supporting the inquiry, both in respect of commissioning support services for victims and survivors, establishing the inquiry and collating and securing information and records that the inquiry might access.”