Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Edlington boys torture attack report 'inadequate'

Police guard scene of attack in Edlington, South Yorkshire
Image caption The young victims were lured to the attack site by the two brothers

A report into a brutal attack on two boys by two young brothers in South Yorkshire fails to provide answers, the education secretary has said.

The boys, then nine and 11, were tortured by two brothers aged 10 and 11 in Edlington, near Doncaster, in 2009.

Michael Gove said the report by the Doncaster Safeguarding Children Board was an example of how the "model of serious case reviews is failing".

The Board said the review was judged positively by Ofsted assessors.

Mr Gove said the full report "documents everything that happened but with insufficient analysis of why and what could have been done differently".

He added: "I have therefore asked Lord Carlile CBE QC to carry out a further independent review of the issues and the action taken and improvements made."

Cigarettes in wound

Roger Thompson, chairman of the Doncaster Safeguarding Children Board, said the serious case review was "prepared under the Government guidance at the time, and all aspects were judged to be good by Ofsted".

Doncaster Council has announced that following an independent investigation it is taking disciplinary action against five members of staff and has referred one former employee to the General Social Care Council regulator.

The Edlington victims were lured away from a park by the brothers who promised they would show them a toad they had found, but instead they were subjected to a horrific assault.

The older boy had a sink dropped on his head, while the younger boy had a sharp stick rammed into his arm and cigarettes pushed into the wound.

The brothers, who had moved to Edlington just three weeks before the attack to live with foster parents, were later detained indefinitely and told they would be detained for a minimum of five years.

An executive summary of the serious case review's findings, released in January 2010, said the brothers' family had been known to social services for 14 years.

It said nine agencies involved with the family missed 31 opportunities to intervene.

'Weak services'

The report said the assault was not only predictable, but was entirely preventable.

Image caption The brothers had moved to Edlington to live with a foster family

The government ordered a takeover of Doncaster's children's services in March 2009, a month before the Edlington attacks, following the deaths of seven children in the district through abuse or neglect over five years.

Mr Gove said the council had made progress since then.

Mr Thompson said: "The publication provides a real reflection of just how weak individual services and multi-agency working was at the time of this incident, and we made a commitment then to make sure lessons were learned and ensure as best as we can that something like this never happens again."

He said all agencies involved in the case were "now working much better together".

Chris Platt, director of the council's children and young people's service, said: "We know services in Doncaster have now changed for the better, and children and young people across the borough are now much safer as a result."

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