DISTRICT Judge Alex Ralton has described vulnerable children’s treatment at the hands of Swindon Borough Council as extraordinary.

Words such as “horrifying” and “disgusting” might be applied just as readily.

The facts of the case read like something from a distant, squalid time in the past, but the worst parts of the story seem to have happened only in the last couple of years.

As recently as May of 2013, an eight-year-old child was sent to school wearing a soiled nappy, yet it was seven months before the local authority got around to intervening.

This was in spite of the family having a readily apparent history of drug and physical abuse, and of the council having been in contact with the family since 2000.

It seems the family’s social worker, who has since left her post, diligently recorded the children’s reports of being beaten.

That being the case, the council clearly has some explaining to do. If this catastrophe is down to the failure of certain people to do their jobs properly, then those people should be removed from their jobs. They should not be moved sideways, upwards or in any other direction but straight out of the door with stinking references.

If the failure is down to the horrific financial pressures heaped on to the council by Whitehall, then our councillors should find the moral courage to rise as one and say so.

There should be no party politics, no consideration for party political niceties or professional courtesy.

When terrible things are happening unchecked in families such as the one whose case we detail today, the chances are that terrible things are happening unchecked in other families.

Such horrors can not be tolerated.