Survivors support independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation

Throughout the summer Telford & Wrekin Council has been working with the Survivors Committee, established to represent survivors and victims of child sexual exploitation in Telford.

Survivors support independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation

Together they’ve been looking at the documents that support the tender process for the council-commissioned independent inquiry and ensuring these reflect any concerns the Survivors Committee may have.

The Survivors Committee are writing some Terms of Reference about what they most want the inquiry to look at.  These will be given to the Commissioning Body to use once it has been appointed.

The Commissioning Body for the independent inquiry is being chosen by an open tender process, meaning that any organisation with the right skills and experience can bid for this work.  Originally the council had hoped to have this done by the end of August but after listening to feedback from the Survivors Committee, as well as potential bidders, it became clear this was too optimistic.

The council has now extended the time for choosing the Commissioning Body by two months, so that bidding closes at the end of October, with the contract awarded in early November.  Once the Commissioning Body is appointed they will then select the Independent Chair.

A Holly Project spokesperson said: “The Holly Project has a representative on the Survivors Committee and we’re pleased that victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation in Telford are working with the council and are able to be very clear about what they want from the Independent Inquiry.  As a result the council is making changes to the inquiry tender documents to make it better for them.

“It’s really important that this inquiry isn’t rushed and that everyone takes the time to get the best and most appropriate organisation as the Commissioning Body.  This should ensure there is a fully independent process that we hope will provide the answers survivors are looking for.”

Councillor Lee Carter said, cabinet member responsible for the Independent Inquiry, said: “The Survivors Committee is crucially important in ensuring that the independent inquiry reflects the needs and concerns of victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation and that we all acknowledge the pain that they have and continue to feel. 

“We have taken their comments on board, as well as feedback from potential bidders and feel it is in everybody’s interests to extend the deadline for the appointment of the Commissioning Body. 

“Any organisation who is interested now has the time to fully explain why they are the right people for the job.”