After shocking revelations from Rotherham made headline news this week, a county councillor has said robust procedures are in place to protect young people in Bucks from child sexual exploitation.
In Rotherham, a report has revealed 1,400 children as young as 11 were sexually exploited over a 16-year-period.
Three weeks ago, Bucks County Council (BCC) children’s services department was rated inadequate by Ofsted, with the report highlighting “widespread and serious” failures of the county’s safeguarding services.
But BCC’s cabinet member for children’s services, Angela MacPherson, said the county’s procedures around child sexual exploitation were identified as a strength in the Ofsted report, which states: “Identification, tracking and risk assessment processes for young people missing or at risk of sexual exploitation are effective.”
BCC commissions Barnardo’s to run its R-U-SAFE? project to reach out to vulnerable young people.
And the county’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) is scheduled to go live at the end of September, allowing police, social and health services to share information.
Mrs MacPherson said: “No council can ever say 100 per cent that everything is in place and everything is watertight but we are really confident that we have robust procedures in place. We do hold our hands up to some of the criticisms and we’re doing everything we can to improve. But in terms of child sexual exploitation, it was identified that our procedures are effective.
“Barnardo’s run a nationally acclaimed service around child sexual exploitation and it’s held up as an exemplar of good practice.”