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The national Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)

About the national Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA)

Rochdale was one of 13 investigations carried out by the national Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA), formerly known as the Goddard Inquiry.

IICSA examined 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. Public hearings relating to IICSA’s Rochdale investigation took place between 9 and 27 October 2017 in London.   

Before the public hearings began the chief executive of the council issued an apology to victims of child sexual abuse and acknowledged there were significant failings, both in the way that Knowl View School was managed, and in the council’s response to concerns about sexual abuse within and outside the school.

The findings of the inquiry

On 12 April 2018 IICSA published its investigation report. It found that council staff had failed in their most basic duty of care towards children but there had been no cover-up of abuse. 

The council's response to the findings of the inquiry

What happened next?

The inquiry made no recommendations to the council but said it expected the local authority and other public bodies to reflect on the report findings and make any changes that were needed to protect children in future.

On 23 May 2018 the council held a meeting where our full response to the inquiry and its findings was presented to councillors and members of the public

Background and timeline of council's response to allegations

View the timeline of Rochdale Borough Council's response to allegations of abuse at Knowl View School and Cambridge House hostel.

  1. Cambridge House was an independently operated 'hostel for working boys' in Castlemere Street in Rochdale that operated from 1960 to 1965 and was not run by Rochdale Borough Council.
  2. Knowl View was a residential school for boys that operated from 1969 to 1994, closing formally in 1996. Children were placed there by Rochdale, Oldham and Bolton and Lancashire councils.
  3. In April 2014 the council announced that it was carrying out a review of its decision making in relation to Knowl View School.
  4. The review was later widened following a number of serious allegations made in the media and Sir Neil Garnham was appointed to lead it. Sir Neil was a leading QC in public inquiry law, having acted as counsel to the Victoria Climbie Inquiry and now sits as a Justice of the High Court.
  5. The Garnham Review was subsequently responsible for triggering an investigation by Greater Manchester Police (GMP), who requested in July 2014 that the council suspend the review and pass all evidence to them.
  6. In November 2015 the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) announced 12 investigations, including one into Rochdale.
  7. In March 2016 the council closed the Garnham Review on the basis that its remit had been subsumed into the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA). An interim report produced by Sir Neil was passed to the national inquiry.
  8. Prior to the start of the Rochdale hearing the council reviewed more than 140,000 pages of documents, which were also shared with the inquiry.
  9. A 130-page council statement was submitted to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse hearings.
  10. Apology issued by the council in September 2017.
  11. IICSA investigation report published in April 2018.
  12. Council published its response to the IICSA investigation report in May 2018.

How much the review cost

The council was engaged in the IICSA process from November 2015 to May 2018. A team of staff, up to 20 people at the highest point, worked to provide 147,000 pages of information to the inquiry.

The overall cost to council was around £650,000.

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