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New Child and Adult Protection committees chairwoman appointed

By David Porter

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Aberdeenshire Council has appointed a new independent chairwoman of its Child and Adult Support Protection committees.

Susan Maclaren.
Susan Maclaren.

Joining the team from the Childcare and Learning Alliance in the Highlands, Susan Maclaren was Head of Integrated Children’s Services and Chief Social Work Officer at Moray Council until August 2018.

Susan explained her “bizarre career path” has taken her from being an aircraft mechanic in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, to a police officer and later a social worker before climbing management ranks.

She grew up in Badenoch and Strathspey and has worked in Cornwall and Caithness as well as many places in between.

Susan said: “As a young police officer I became involved in a number of child protection cases and worked closely with the local social work department which brought me into contact with a number of highly skilled and dedicated social workers.

"Their commitment to working with families and children to make things better had a lasting impression, and I was lucky to be one of the first police officers to gain a Child Protection Diploma – more than 30 years ago.

“I'm really looking forward to working with new and former colleagues in Aberdeenshire.

"There has never been a more important time to look out for the most vulnerable and the most important thing we can do is to listen to those we are there to protect, and to work in partnership with parents, carers, children, young people and families.

"It’s important we work well together across different agencies and do everything we can to enable young and vulnerable members of our society to live safely, feel valued and reach their potential.”

The Child Protection Committee and the Adult Support Protection Committee both bring together colleagues from social work, health, the police and voluntary organisations to steer the strategic direction of joint working practices.

They influence and guide local working groups who meet to ensure service users’ needs are met in the most effective ways possible.

The Council’s chief executive, Jim Savege, who is also chair of the local Executive Group for Public Protection commented: “While these are very different circumstances to those we were expecting to welcome Susan in to, teams are adapting well and Susan will be a great asset to an already strong multi-agency team of committed professionals.

"We are continually striving for improvement and looking for opportunities to improve the life chances of children and young as well as vulnerable people, and we’ll continue to give of our best in the weeks ahead.

“Susan’s wide-ranging career in social work as well as Armed Forces and police services means she’s no stranger to partnership working and is very much committed to multi-agency working.

"We are very much looking forward to working with her.”

Anyone looking to report a child protection concern can contact local social work teams using the details on Aberdeenshire Council’s website: https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/children-and-families/children-and-families-team-offices/

The main telephone number is 01467 537111 during working hours Monday to Friday and Out of Hours after 5pm and at weekends is 03456 081206.

The Adult Protection Network can be reached on 01467 533100 or by emailing adultprotectionnetwork@aberdeenshire.gov.uk Grampian Women’s Aid continue to provide support to those affected by domestic abuse and can be reached on 01224 593381 or by emailing info@grampian-womens-aid.com

In an emergency, please dial 999 or to report a crime in a non-emergency situation use 101.

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