Review finds no proof of files destroyed amid claims of historic organised child abuse cover up

It will be disappointing to those victims of child abuse who were hoping this review. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

So where are we now on the claims that organised child abuse was covered up at the Home Office?

The answer - disappointingly - is not much further ahead.

The review by the head of the NSPCC charity and an independent barrister into what happened more than 30 years ago found no evidence of cover ups at the Home Office.

The pair found it was "not possible to say whether files were ever removed" and they "found nothing to support concerns that files had been deliberately destroyed."

But given the filing systems at the time, they add there are "significant limitations on our ability to re-establish a perfect record of what was known."

And on the claims - made to ITV News in the summer - that the Home Office approved grants to the Paedophile Information Exchange, the authors of the report conclude that the funding "did not take place".

But they add: "Nor, however, have we been able to dismiss the suggestion entirely."

So in short - nothing was proved - but neither was anything disproved.

It will be disappointing to those victims of child abuse who were hoping this review (of a previous review) would shed some light on the claims that members of the establishment were part of an organised child sex abuse ring.

And neither does it shed any further light on what happened to the much talked about "Dickens dossier" - the file of abuse allegations handed to the Home Office by the late MP Geoffrey Dickens.

And as for the claims the file may have ended up with MI5 - the Security Service told the report authors that it does not hold any file that is relevant to the review.

The Home Secretary has subsequently ordered that her department tighten procedures for the recording and retention of files.

But that retention thirty years ago was so lax - it is inevitable that we will not find out beyond doubt what happened to the files which have been the subject of so much rumour and so many allegations.

And Peter Wanless - who co-wrote it - just told me he is content that child abuse is on the agenda even if his conclusions were incomplete.