Edlington: Audit Commission to inspect Doncaster Council

The Audit Commission will carry out an in-depth inspection of Doncaster Council after a serious case review found a brutal attack by two brothers in Edlington could have been prevented.

The council has has been under heavy scrutiny for the deaths of seven children known to its children’s services department since 2004. This has intensified since it emerged that the brothers, aged 10 and 11 at the time, were under the authority’s care when they assaulted two young boys last April in Edlington, South Yorkshire.

The Audit Commission said it would carry out a corporate governance inspection in light of “serious concerns about the council’s performance and the threat to public confidence caused by recent events”.

Corporate governance inspections review the effectiveness of a local authority’s decision-making processes, risk management, leadership and standards of conduct. They are undertaken when a council has been performing badly over a long period or poor governance poses a threat to service users or public confidence.

There is no indication yet of when the inspection of Doncaster will start. It is not yet clear whether the council has begun disciplining workers involved in the case.

Meanwhile, the debate over whether the serious case review into the Edlington case should be published in full continues.

Children’s secretary Ed Balls told the House of Commons yesterday that publishing the SCR in full would be “deeply irresponsible and put children at risk in our country”.

Balls said: “It contains within it details of the abuse suffered both by other children in the family in this case and the victims themselves – detail which would either reveal their identities to other children in Doncaster or for those who know that, would then show that very clearly.”

Balls was responding to a question from Michael Gove, the shadow children’s secretary, who demanded the report to be published in full to establish what went wrong.

The row follows the sentencing of the two brothers last week. They were detained indefinitely with a minimum term of five years after admitting causing grievous bodily harm.

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