Borders social work boss who re-vamped department after Miss X scandal retires

Andrew Lowe
Andrew Lowe
Share this article

Borders social work director Andrew Lowe has retired on health grounds after nine years in the job.

He suffered a heart attack in March last year and says it is with much sadness that he leaves Scottish Borders Council.

He commented: “I have made this decision as I have struggled to maintain health and fitness since a heart attack last year.”

Mr Lowe took over the social work post in November 2004 – a year after the council was rocked by the Miss X torture scandal.

A major probe that led to the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament highlighted major management weaknesses in the council’s social work department.

Mr Lowe moved from Nottingham City Council and immediately set about re-structuring the department.

He admitted that the Miss X case was one of the most glaring examples in Scotland of social work failings.

When he was appointed president of the Association of Directors of Social Work for 2011/12 he reflected on his start with the Borders council.

He said: “I knew the challenges I faced and these were confirmed when I started. There were some excellent staff, but they were lacking confidence and I could see they needed leadership.”

This week, confirming he had retired on Friday, he commented: “I have had the privilege to lead a wonderful group of staff with whom I hope I have made a difference in the lives of many Borderers.

“I am confident that Scottish Borders Council will work hard to meet the coming challenges that are being faced by local authorities up and down the country, and emerge in good shape for the next era.”

Council chief executive Tracey Logan said: “In his time with the council Andrew has made a massive contribution to social work at every level and his influence and contribution at a national level will, I hope, continue for a long time.”

Mr Lowe has worked for councils in Fife, Tayside, and Nottingham.