The council will request a government-led review into historic child sexual exploitation (CSE) in the borough following the bombshell report commissioned by Greater Manchester’s combined authority.

Following the Rochdale grooming scandal, a review into cases in neighbouring Oldham was requested by the town hall.

Commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) in 2019, it looked into suspected issues in the borough.

Cases in Oldham between 2011 and 2014 were reviewed, with the role council services played in protecting – or failing to protect – vulnerable children put under the spotlight.

Published in 2022, the report was damning. It found evidence the council had failed vulnerable children, despite efforts made to protect them.

But it found "no evidence" of a town hall-led "cover up" or an organised ring operating on the level of that in Rochdale.

There was immediate criticism of the inquiry’s "limited scope" and calls for a government-led investigation, independent of the GMCA.

Survivors of abuse, families and others said the timeframe was too narrow and that too few cases were considered.

At several council meetings since then, calls for another inquiry have been furiously debated, often accompanied by public protests.

False allegations and conspiracy have been spread on social media, worsening existing community divisions.

After Labour lost overall control of the council at May’s local elections, council leader Arooj Shah struck a deal with independent councillors and gained their support, including backing calls to the government for a new CSE inquiry. 

At a meeting on Wednesday, July 10, a motion on the issue was unanimously voted through.


Conservative Cllr Lewis Quigg speaking at the full council meeting on Wednesday, July 11

Conservative Cllr Lewis Quigg speaking at the full council meeting on Wednesday, July 11


Tabled by the Failsworth Independent Party, but "hosted" by Labour, it called on the council to write to the Home Office to request a review and take the matter out of the hands of local bosses.

The Home Office has rejected previous requests.

The council pledged to carry out a "Telford-style", independent review if the plea is again ignored.

Failsworth Independent member Brian Hobin said: “This motion is not about point scoring, nor the people in this chamber, nor the people with lots to say on the issue online.

"It’s simply about those who have been affected by these disgraceful, despicable crimes, who have featured far too little in the noise of the last few years.”

Cllr Hobin said survivors "more than anything, want a voice".

“What they wanted was a fully independent inquiry,” he added.

“They want answers and they want to make sure what happened to them never happens to anyone ever again.”

Independent Marc Hince, who seconded the motion, added: “I had the humbling pleasure of meeting some of the survivors recently.

"For too long this subject has been used as a political football.”

Cllr Shaid Mushtaq, cabinet member for children and young people, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service the 2022 report was "very thorough" and the local authority had "rightly apologised" for failures.

“Since that time survivors and those affected by these crimes have told us that they feel that the scope of the original review did not go far enough – essentially that not everyone had the opportunity to give their testimony and have their voices and experiences heard,” he added.

“We are backing this motion because its what those affected have told us they want to see – it has been shaped by the survivors.

"In the meantime, we will continue to work with organisations across the borough to protect our young people and help bring abusers to justice.”