THE leader of Oxfordshire County Council said “everyone was open and honest” about the failings exposed by the Serious Case Review.

Speaking after the report’s publication yesterday, Ian Hudspeth said it was now important that agencies work together to prevent sexual abuse in the future.

He said: “The key thing is that once everyone was aware of the situation we could act to make sure that Oxfordshire was a much safer place.

“And the key to it is that it’s actually not been a case of standing back and trying to deny it.

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“We were very open at the time, there was no hiding behind anything, everybody was open and honest about this actually occurring.

“But what it has meant is that it has led to the successful prosecution of seven men and there are more prosecutions coming along.

“Once you are saying ‘yes we are investigating this, we are working with our partners in the police and health service and the education department’ and you look across all of them, the very sad thing is the more you can find.

“But we’ve actually got these things in place now, and it’s embedded in our organisation – 7,500 people have been trained to spot the early signs [of child sexual exploitation].

“We have been working with other council and our partners in the police to prevent this, and that is the key thing.

“Once we knew what was going on, we took action. We put money into it to set up the Kingfisher Unit and make sure that there were additional social care workers.”