CARING for the most vulnerable has to be one of the highest priorities of the state and society.

And the harder the challenge then surely the more thorough the response should be.

Days after reporting the death of Bampton’s Mark Wood – who starved to death aged 44 after his benefits were cut when he was assessed “fit for work” – we have another disturbing case raising questions about how we look after the most needy. Today we reveal that Oxford City Council by its own admission did nothing “substantial” to find out more about a dilapidated Littlemore home where two reclusive women were later found dead, despite knowing of concerns.

A week after their bodies were found in November 2013 the house had to be stabilised with building supports.

Under the Building Act 1984 the council has powers to tackle “dangerous and ruinous” structures, the obvious implication being those which could be a danger to people who live in or near the property.

It would appear the fate of mother and daughter Pauline and Caroline Jessett was made possible by their lack of visibility to the outside world, both from the community and the council.

Councillor John Tanner certainly has a point when he says “it is a reminder to people that we have to look after our neighbours” but the same applies to the authority and he accepts it should have asked the police to gain entry.

Often people who need the most help are the last to seek it but the authorities must never give up on them.