Head of children’s services not at press conference

The man in charge of child protection in Dundee at the time of Brandon Muir’s death did not attend today’s Press conference. Fred McBride — who is currently head of children’s services at Dundee, but is due to take over as Aberdeen City Council’s £107,000 social care and wellbeing director — took a week’s leave knowing that the report into child services was due out today.

Social work director Alan Baird today said Mr McBride has left the department with a “large agenda”.

Mr Baird also sidestepped directly answering the question of whether he thought Mr McBride had done a good job.

He said the Press could draw their own conclusions.

“Fred McBride was appointed to the post of director of social work in Aberdeen City Council. He is on leave this week from Dundee City Council and begins his new employment as director next Monday.”

Mr Baird was asked if Mr McBride knew the report was coming out when he took that leave.

“He was aware of that,” said Mr Baird.

Mr Baird was then asked if he would have liked Mr McBride to have been at today’s Press conference.

He replied, “No, I’m happy to take responsibility this morning. This is about moving forward.

“This is about taking the opportunities the report has given us to begin to work in a very different way in the city than I think we have done to date.”

Mr Baird was asked if he thought Mr McBride left the department in a good state.

“I think he’s left the child protection committee with a large agenda, which we are committed to taking forward and I personally, as the new chair, will ensure improvements happen and they happen quickly.”

“My commitment is now — along with colleagues here and across the agencies — to ensure we make rapid and substantial progress in all areas of child protection services for Dundee City.”