TWO independent investigations are being launched by Oldham Council after allegations of historic child sexual exploitation.

The move comes in the wake of posts on social media claimed a "cover up" over claims of sexual grooming and child sexual abuse.

Veteran Conservative councillor and former mayor John Hudson and Cllr Chris Gloster, deputy leader of the Lib Dem Opposition, a trained safeguarding lead in Oldham, attended a meeting to discuss their concerns with council chiefs and seeking assurance allegations were not being ignored.

Chief executive Carolyn Wilkins, Rebekah Sutcliffe, strategic director of reform, and council leader Sean Fielding were in attendance.

In a letter to the council, Cllr Hudson said the accusations and allegations are of a "disturbing" nature and warranted a full investigation.

He wrote: “Given the gravity of the accusations - in particular around child sexual exploitation and the safeguarding risks to children to name a few - we believe this should be referred to the Police and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local government so the council and those accused can be fully and transparently investigated in the proper way.”

Later, Cllr Hudson said: “The allegations have cast a shadow over all 60 council members and I’m worried about the reputation of the town both locally and across Greater Manchester.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrat’s Cllr Howard Sykes also wrote to the council’s chief executive seeking assurances about the posts and historic child sexual exploitation and the suggestion of a subsequent cover up by senior Labour councillors and council officers dating back to 2013.

He said: “Although no contact has been made by anyone making allegations, it is only right and proper in view of the scale and momentum of these allegations they are 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.”

Cllr Gloster added: “As a result of this meeting I am pleased to confirm 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 while 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.”

On the council’s website Cllr Fielding said: “Allegations on social media referring to safeguarding cases were subject to a comprehensive multi-agency response involving the council and the police in 2013.

“Firstly, Oldham Council’s staff and members are resolutely committed to protecting and caring for our children and young people now just as they have been in the past.

“The council works with police and other agencies to investigate, disrupt and prevent child sexual exploitation and pioneered the introduction of Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs that have been replicated around the country.

“It is abhorrent for anyone to suggest anything has been swept under the carpet or ignored.

“Reported cases and intelligence in all cases were referred to police for investigation.

“Secondly, Oldham Council has actively lobbied for changes in the law where it was inadequate for tackling threats against our young people. Since then our work has disrupted criminal behaviour in this area and protected many young people.

“Thirdly, when the allegations were first made, I immediately asked the council to examine our partnership response to the events of 2013 and to update me on current processes and procedures.

“Following this I am satisfied our safeguarding procedures are robust, and we have and continue to do all we can to meet the safeguarding needs of the children through our partnership approach and that we do our best protect them from those that would harm them.

“However, due to the nature of the comments, the council and police want to satisfy ourselves we did everything we could to protect our children in the recent past and that we are adopting an approach of continuous improvement to our safeguarding procedures.

“The council and the police have commissioned an independent review of actions around the period of the allegations – looking at them through a 2019 lens.

“To be clear, this does not mean I believe anyone was failed or anyone acted improperly. However, I believe we have a duty to test the strength of our safeguarding processes as part of our desire to continually improve the work we do.

“The police have tried to engage with the person making the allegations – they are the appropriate agency as he claims to have evidence – but unfortunately to date, he has failed to respond to their requests.

“I would urge him to make contact with police immediately. It is vital if he has information he shares this with proper authorities, so it can be investigated.

“And by way of assurance to our residents, I can categorically say Oldham Council and GMP will always investigate and respond to safeguarding concerns and I would urge anyone with evidence we are not aware of to get in touch immediately with the police and report it to them.

“In the meantime if anyone needs support or advice then please contact our Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub on 0161 770 7777 or email or”