Rochdale is one of 13 investigations being carried out by the national Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), formerly known as the Goddard Inquiry.
IICSA is examining allegations of the sexual abuse and exploitation of children residing at or attending Cambridge House Boys' Hostel, Knowl View School, and other institutions where their placement was arranged or provided by Rochdale Borough Council.
Cambridge House operated from 1961 to 1965 and Knowl View was open between 1969 and 1994. A public hearing will be taking place between 9 and 27 October 2017 in London and the inquiry intends to publish a report or other information showing what happened in Rochdale.
The council had previously announced on 28 April 2014 its intention to conduct a formal investigation into its decision making in relation to Knowl View School. Considerable progress was made in terms of collating and analysing documentation and identifying potential witnesses.
The review was later widened following a number of serious allegations made in the media and Sir Neil Garnham QC was appointed to lead it. Sir Neil is a leading QC in public inquiry law, having acted as counsel to the Victoria Climbie Inquiry and sits as a Justice of the High Court.
The council asked Sir Neil to liaise with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) to ensure that his review did not compromise any element of their investigations.
The terms of reference include a review of all relevant information between the years 1961 to 1995.
Neil Garnham QC had made good progress and had started
interviewing witnesses in line with the terms of reference
as noted above.
Suspension of the Rochdale Historic Child Abuse
On 8 July 2014 we agreed to a request from Greater Manchester Police to temporarily suspend our independent review. Police had been carrying out an investigation into how allegations of child abuse over several decades involving care homes in Rochdale were handled. In order not to interfere with any potential police investigation we agreed to ask Sir Neil Garnham QC to temporarily suspend his independent review until this matter was clarified and he agreed to do so.
In light of IICSA, the Garnham review was terminated in 2016. An interim report submitted by the review is now part of the investigations being carried out by IICSA.
Costs of the Rochdale Historic Child Abuse Review
Public expenditure incurred by a local authority must be approved by councillors prior to costs being incurred and in line with the council's constitution. To comply with those requirements on 14 July 2014 a confidential report into the potential costs of the independent review by Neil Garnham QC was placed before the council's Cabinet for their consideration and approval. The Cabinet report was only confidential as the costs needed to be agreed by Cabinet and once agreed could be made public.
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