There were serious shortcomings in the approach of the authorities to historical cases of child sexual exploitation (CSE) in Oldham, a report has found.

But despite suggestions to the contrary, there is no evidence of a cover-up by these authorities, authors Malcolm Newsam and Gary Ridgway stressed.

The 200-page report, published this week, was commissioned by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and Deputy Mayor Baroness Beverley Hughes around two and a half years ago when a review into CSE across the region was extended to include Oldham in its scope.

It is a response to allegations on social media about children's homes, shisha establishments and taxi services, and their use to access children for the purposes of sexual exploitation in the three years up to 2014.

READ MORE: Oldham CSE report: The key takeaways on its delayed publication day.

But children's services expert Mr Newsam and ex-detective superintendent Mr Ridgway also investigated other, specific cases, such as the case of 'Sophie', who was assaulted and raped multiple times after opportunities to intervene were missed by both GMP and Oldham Council.

In relation to children's homes, shisha establishments and taxi services, the report concluded there was no evidence of widespread CSE in these settings, although a small number of children were exposed to sexual exploitation. It suggested GMP and Oldham Council tried to address the threat posed by these settings, although with mixed results.

In relation to 'Sophie' and other, specific cases, however, the report concluded there were serious shortcomings which left children without an appropriate amount of protection, and perpetrators unapprehended.

Mr Newsam and Mr Ridgway stressed these serious shortcomings were due to structural issues in the system set up to tackle CSE, Operation Messenger, and not due to a cover-up on the part of the authorities.

READ MORE: Oldham CSE report: A timeline of events to its delayed publication day.

The report reads: "We have been provided with no evidence to suggest that senior managers or councillors sought to cover up either the existence of child sexual exploitation in Oldham or the complexity involved in tackling the perpetrators."

At a press conference on Monday attended by Mr Newsam, Mr Ridgway, Mr Burnham and Baroness Hughes, as well as GMP's Chief Constable Stephen Watson and Oldham Council's leader Amanda Chadderton, apologies were made to all those let down by the authorities.

But these authorities told the press and public significant changes have since been made.

Cllr Chadderton said: "We accept the findings of this report. It highlights clear failings, where our services at the time were not good enough to protect vulnerable children suffering the most awful abuse. For that I'm deeply sorry."

Chief Constable Watson also announced an operation dedicated to CSE in Oldham, Operation Sherwood, and delivered a message to the perpetrators of historical cases of CSE.

He said: "My message to those offenders is a simple one. If you think you’ve got away with it, you’re wrong. And we are coming for you."