Doncaster case throws spotlight on social services

Social services are again in the political spotlight as more details emerge about the terrifying attack on two children in Doncaster.

Prime minister Gordon Brown and opposition leader David Cameron clashed over the case of two brothers who were in the care of council social services when they attacked two boys in Edlington, South Yorkshire.

The brothers, who were 10 and 11 at the time of the attack, have pleaded guilty to intentionally causing a child to engage in sexual activity, GBH with intent, robbing one of the boys of a mobile phone and the other of cash.

Both were placed in foster care three weeks before the attack.

A leaked copy of the Serious Case Review revealed 31 missed opportunities by public sector agencies to intervene with the family.

Doncaster Council’s social services officials were criticised for the failure to supervise the attackers’ foster care placement.

The prime minister pledged lessons would be learnt from the tragic case: ‘We are all agreed about the seriousness of this case.’

But Conservative leader David Cameron called for the serious case review to be published in full: ‘These dreadful events follow the deaths of seven children in Doncaster.

‘Clearly one of the lessons to learn is why did so much go wrong for so long?’