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City's child protection improved

4 March 10 11:48 GMT

Child protection officers in Dundee have "responded quickly" to a critical report last year, inspectors have said.

Last June's report from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education (HMIe) said many youngsters were not given help until crisis point was reached.

A 34-point action plan covering issues such as training and information sharing was agreed.

The HMIe have now said "positive progress" has been made in most areas needing attention.

Inspectors said the leadership and direction of chief officers at Dundee City Council and the Children and Young People Protection Committee (CYPPC) had been significantly strengthened.

CYPPC chair Alan Baird: "We have acted on the need for change and a lot of hard work from everyone involved with child protection in the city has been focussed on improving our performance."

Mr Baird added that the committee would not be complacent and would strive to make further improvements.

The HMIe said inspectors would revisit the authority in a year's time to assess progress again.

Toddler death

The council said £1m had been invested in frontline staff to improve child protections services in the city.

And £2.65m is being spent on a purpose-built child protection unit at Kings Cross Hospital, Tayside Police said.

The original inspection last year examined child protection services provided by the council, police, NHS Tayside, the Scottish Children's Reporter Administration and voluntary and independent groups.

Publication was brought forward following the death of 23-month-old Brandon Muir in Dundee.

Robert Cunningham, who was the drug-addict boyfriend of Brandon's mother, is serving 10 years in jail for killing the toddler by hitting him so hard that his intestines burst.

The social work department had been involved with Brandon a year before his death.

The HMIe inspectors did not consider Brandon's case, which is the subject of other reviews.

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