Council leader Kay Cutts: 'For far too long no one was listening to you'

Council leader Kay Cutts
Council leader Kay Cutts

Here is Nottinghamshire County Council's leader, Councillor Kay Cutts full statement . . .

In January 2018 I made a full and unreserved apology on behalf of this council to the victims and survivors of historical child sexual abuse, as did my predecessor Councillor Alan Rhodes in March 2016. Councillors of all political persuasion have been deeply saddened by what happened to children and young people who were entrusted into the care of this Council.

As we approach the publication date of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse report, I once again would like to wholeheartedly express my utter shame that children were abused in our care.

To the survivors whose lives were blighted and damaged by the abuse you suffered, I am sorry for what you endured.

For far too long no one was listening to you, and I hope the Inquiry went some of the way to giving you – the survivors – the opportunity to seek the truth and justice that has escaped you for decades.

We are listening, and we will work tirelessly to keep children as safe as they can be. Children’s voices are heard today, not least through the Children in Care Council where concerns are raised with the Corporate Director for Children’s Services and his senior colleagues.

The recruitment of social workers is also a much more rigorous process today. We have developed strong links with the local universities and offer placements to high calibre young social workers who are compassionate and competent people, and well-trained in their profession.

We as a council made promises to the victims and survivors at the Inquiry last October and we are, and will, continue to uphold these promises.

Today, we have robust procedures in place to keep children safe and to put them first. We now have a governance board made up of elected members from across the political spectrum and senior children’s social care officers who make unannounced visits to children’s homes.

Thorough inspections are carried out and a full and comprehensive report is brought to the Children and Young People’s Committee and appropriate actions are considered.

We have reduced the time to settle claims from years to a matter of months in the majority of cases. Following the hearing, we have listened to survivors on this issue and have acted swiftly and appropriately.

This council is a very much different place than in previous decades. We are now more open and transparent. I strongly believe that the people of Nottinghamshire have the right to know that children today are being protected, and not let down like they have been in the past.

We cannot legislate for evil people who wish to harm others, what we can, and must, do is make sure we take every step possible to keep them away from our children.

We will take very seriously the findings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, and will implement any recommendations that the Inquiry makes.

This is the promise that I, as Leader of the Council, make to you, the survivors, and your families.