By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
Nottingham City Council is to examine whether ‘lessons have been learnt’ on the back of a highly critical report over its failure to protect children from sexual abuse.
The Independent Investigation into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) was established in 2015 to consider local council’s ‘historical institutional failures’ to protect hundreds of children.
The inquiry looked into the sexual and physical abuse of youngsters in several children’s homes and foster care from the 1960s onwards, including the former Beechwood Children’s Home in Mapperley.
The crimes, dating back decades, first began to be made public in 2013 after several victims came forward. This led to hundreds of claims and several criminal trials.
The investigation found both Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire County Council failed in their duties to protect children from abuse.
The inquiry called on the local authorities to draw up an action plan in September 2019 to ensure the best possible protection for children in the future.
However, a year later, while recognising progress had been made, there were still ‘a number of actions that still needed to be completed’ and integrated into the plan.
On Thursday, July 29, the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee will meet at Nottingham Council House to determine if the plan is working.
The report states: “The committee is asked to consider whether it is satisfied that the council has done what it said it will do in response to the findings from IICSA and whether lessons learnt have been incorporated into practice so that, at this time, there is no need for further specific scrutiny of these issues.”
Recommendations made to the council at the time included assessing the potential risk posed by current and former foster carers directly provided by the council and those provided by external agencies. Any concerns which arise should be referred to the appropriate body or process.
The council states its work with survivors of abuse has been ‘a very important area of focus and learning for us’. A survivor support service has been created in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, costing £93,350 in 2020/21.
The council says: “The voice of the child is at the heart of our practice and we have a range of ways to ensure children and young people’s experiences and voices can be heard.”