Brandon report slams city’s child protection

June 24, 2009

CHILD PROTECTION services in Dundee have been severely criticised in a damning report published today.

The report, prepared in the wake of the Brandon Muir case, was compiled by a team of independent assessors led by Her Majestys Inspectorate of Education and has raised major concerns over the effectiveness of services to protect vulnerable children in the city and meet their needs.

Of the 18 quality indicators the team looked at, nine were either weak or unsatisfactory, six were satisfactory and only three were described as good.

The report showed there were major weaknesses in the identification of children who needed protection, staff across services did not always respond quickly enough to children who were at risk of significant harm and they did not always report concerns until the childs circumstances had reached crisis point.

The report follows the killing last year of 23-month-old Brandon Muir at the hands of Robert Cunningham, the boyfriend of the Dundee toddlers mother.

Cunningham was jailed for 10 years for culpable homicide at the High Court in March, although he is appealing against his conviction.

The month-long inspection, which is part of a rolling programme looking at all 32 Scottish local authorities, was already under way when the trial ended.

Its results had been due to be published in September, but concern over Brandons death prompted the Scottish Government to order the findings to be released in June instead, with children and early years minister Adam Ingram saying a clear picture of how childrens services were operating in the city was needed as quickly as possible.

That picture is a hugely damning one which highlights significant delays in protecting children at risk of neglect or emotional abuse, particularly those affected by parental substance misuse, which the multi-agency Dundee Children and Young Persons Protection Committee has acknowledged and says it has already begun to address.

Some children, the report said, were left for too long in circumstances which placed them at risk of significant harm.

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