Oldham Liberal Democrat councillors are aware of allegations currently circulating on social media with regards to historic child sexual exploitation and the suggestion of a subsequent cover up by senior Labour councillors and council officers dating back to 2013.
Consequently, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats’ on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE has raised the matter the Chief Executive of Oldham Council Dr Carolyn Wilkins on the 9 September 2019, to establish how the Council intends to deal with these allegations in order to restore public confidence.
Councillor Sykes said: “Although no contact has been made by anyone making allegations, it is only right and proper that in view of the scale and momentum of these allegations that they properly investigated and refuted, confirming the outcome of the 2013 investigation. Alternatively, if there were failings and/or fresh evidence comes to light, that the appropriate authorities take action, be that with regards to serving or former councillors, council officers or any other individual’.
On Thursday 26th September 2019, Councillor Chris Gloster, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who is a trained safeguarding lead in Oldham met with the Chief Executive Dr Wilkins, Rebekah Sutcliffe, Strategic Director of Reform, and Councillor Sean Fielding, Leader of the Council Administration to seek reassurance that these allegations were not being ignored and to establish what steps were being taken to address them.
Councillor Gloster said: “As a result of this meeting I am pleased to confirm that two separate independent investigations are to take place, one looking at the Council’s response in 2013, and a review of the criminal allegations by Greater Manchester Police’s Major Crime Review Team. It would be inappropriate to comment further whilst these reviews are taking place but as the Opposition it is our role to hold the Council to account and we will expect to be fully briefed as to the outcomes and ensure the investigation is both rigorous, clear and transparent’.