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IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Cambridge House, Knowl View and Rochdale Investigation Report

Culture

83. We reject any suggestion that there was a culture on the part of Rochdale officers of shutting out politicians from incidents that were sensitive or potentially difficult or embarrassing for them to deal with. The evidence that we considered as regards Knowl View School pointed in the opposite direction. There are three examples of this. First, in the immediate aftermath of the Hilton incident in September 1990 (which was potentially highly embarrassing), Brian Williams, an Assistant Education Officer, telephoned Councillor Mary Moffat of the Education Committee to inform her of the incident before he telephoned Mrs Cavanagh who was the Director of Education.[1] Indeed, Councillor Moffat had an office in the Education Department.[2] Second, Mrs Cavanagh invited representatives of the main political parties to the meeting on 13 March 1992 at which she introduced the Mellor report.[3] Third, on 1 May 1992, the Chief Executive of Rochdale Council (Mr Pierce) asked Diana Cavanagh for a statement as to what action had been taken as regards Knowl View so that “he might be in a position to advise the Leader on these matters as soon as possible”.[4] Mrs Cavanagh thought that Mr Pierce wanted this memorandum because the local elections were due to be held (on 7 May 1992), and he was preparing for a new Leader (who would in due course be Paul Rowen).[5] On 8 May 1992, Mrs Cavanagh provided Mr Pierce with her memorandum detailing the actions that had taken place since the receipt of the Mellor report.[6] These examples demonstrate that far from there being a culture that excluded politicians from understanding the position at Knowl View School, officers regularly sought to ensure that councillors were briefed about the school and understood the problems there.

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