COUNCILS have an important role to play in tackling child sexual exploitation, a report has stated.

Yesterday Oxford City Council agreed a report on its work in tackling the issue.

It comes after the chief executives of Oxfordshire’s local authorities said last year they would report to their executive committees on the role their organisations play in responding to the issue.

Officers have now set out a report explaining to councillors what the various departments do to tackle child sexual exploitation.

This covers areas such as the sharing of information between council departments, the training of council staff, the governance structure of the city council and the council’s duties as a licensing authority.

In a report, Richard Adams, the council’s environmental protection service manager, said: “Oxford City Council takes seriously the findings of the Home Affairs Select Committee’s second report into child sexual exploitation and response to localised grooming.

“The report states that district councils have an important role to play in tackling child sexual exploitation, particularly in terms of sharing information and concerns from frontline workers, and in their strategic roles as housing and licensing authorities.”

A recent external review of the city council’s attempts at tackling child sexual exploitation found it has a “robust response”.

Last year seven members of a gang that raped, prostituted and sexually abused young girls in Oxford were handed sentences totalling 95 years after a trial at the Old Bailey.