DIGEST: The chief executive of Rochdale MBC has apologised on behalf of the council for sexual abuse that took place at two facilities for young people in the town.
Steve Rumbelow’s apology comes ahead of hearings of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse next month that are expected to examine events at Cambridge House ‘hostel for working boys’ during the 1960s and Knowl View residential school which operated between 1969 and 1996. Cambridge House was was set up and run by the Rochdale Hostel for Boys Association, which was chaired by the late Liberal MP Cyril Smith who is alleged to be a serial sexual abuser.
The current council leader Richard Farnell (Lab) was also leader during the early 1990s, when it is claimed allegations of abuse at Knowl View were made to the council. He has denied any knowledge of such claims.
Mr Rumbelow said: “The council acknowledges that 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.
“That was, frankly, unforgivable. On behalf of Rochdale Borough Council, I would like to apologise sincerely to anyone who was failed by the council during those years.
“We cannot turn the clock back. But as the current chief executive of the council, working with the director of children’s services and partner agencies such as the police, and through the Rochdale Safeguarding Children’s Board, I can make sure that we continue do our level best to safeguard our children and young people now and in the future.”