When two young brothers tortured, strangled and sexually abused two children of their own age near Doncaster in 2009, it led the then Leader of the Opposition David Cameron to attack Britain’s “broken society”.
But three years on official report has concluded that the council which passed up more than 30 opportunities to intervene in the lives of the young perpetrators is still failing children.
Lord Carlile of Berriew’s report, published alongside an Ofted inspection of Doncaster social services, found that the high number of child in need cases without a named social worker meant the local authority could not be confident the children had their needs met or were protected.
“There are systemic and unacceptable delays in ensuring that (children’s) needs are met in an effective and purposeful way," it concluded.
Lord Carlile said his review of the failings of social workers in the run up to the 2009 attack had led his to the conclusion that more radical social care policies were necessary.
“It is simply shocking to reflect that, over 100 events after the first, the two boys were out on the streets uncontrolled to the extent that they very nearly ended the life of a boy of their own age,” he said.
“I recommend that we need to take a radical look at the way interventions are assessed and dealt with. Some old assumptions may not be as sound as has been suggested.
“There has been a degree of disquiet suggested to me at the length to which the system sometimes acts to uphold a key principle in the Children Act 1989 that a child's best place is with the natural parents wherever possible.”
The Education Secretary Michael Gove ordered the Carlile Report into the background to the Edlington incident after he concluded the serious case review published in March did not "meet his expectations" and showed the current system of serious case reviews is "failing".
The incident which sparked the controversy was a savage attack in which the two brothers lured their victims to a secluded spot and subjected them to 90 minutes of violence and sexual humiliation.