Child Sexual Exploitation Inquiry set to recruit independent chair

The Commissioning Body for Telford and Wrekin’s inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation is set to start recruiting an independent chair.

Child Sexual Exploitation Inquiry set to recruit independent chair

The process of delivering the inquiry is set to be divided into two specific parts. The first part will focus on the recruitment process while the second part will finalise the terms of reference and the design of the inquiry process.

Reports on both of these will go to the cross party Members Advisory Group that was set up when Telford & Wrekin Council first took the decision to hold the independent inquiry. The Members Advisory Group next meets on Tuesday February 12.

The report will then go before the Council’s cabinet for approval on February 14.

This follows a thorough programme of preparatory work taking place since the inception of the Members Advisory Group. This work has resulted in the independent Commissioning Body being appointed.

The recruitment process to appoint an independent chair will be able to start after the Members Advisory Group and Cabinet meetings have taken place.

After active involvement in the process by the independent Survivors Committee and following cross party council agreement, the Members Advisory Group appointed Eversheds Sutherland as the Independent Commissioning Body for the inquiry 

Eversheds Sutherland’s initial tasks were to work closely with victims and survivors, draw up terms of reference for the inquiry and appoint an independent chair of the inquiry.

Splitting the final commission in two enables the recruitment of the independent chair, which is expected to start this month, to take place in time for their involvement in setting the terms of reference and the design of the inquiry process.

Telford & Wrekin Council’s Monitoring Officer Jonathan Eatough said: “The Final Commission has been split into two parts by the independent Commissioning Body as it takes control of the process of setting up the inquiry.

“This decision has been taken to balance the need to progress the inquiry in a timely manner with the need to make sure that stakeholders including survivors are properly engaged.

“The Council will of course not influence either part of the process but it must be assured that it is getting value for money from the Commissioning Body.”

Other steps that have been taken by the Commissioning Body to set the inquiry up include setting up dedicated contact details for the inquiry including an 0800 number and email address, setting up the necessary secure IT systems and meeting with survivors.

It has also designed and prepared a draft recruitment pack for the recruitment of the independent chair, which will be considered by both the Members Advisory Group and cabinet.

Subject to approval, the Commissioning Body will then be in a position to advertise the role and start the formal recruitment process.

A representative of the Survivors’ Group said: “As we have said on previous occasions, some survivors have been waiting up to 40 years for answers.  So it’s important to us that this independent inquiry in to child sexual exploitation isn’t rushed and that everyone takes the time to ensure it provides the answers survivors and their families are looking for.”

The meeting is due to be streamed on Telford & Wrekin Council's Youtube Channel