Culture at Barnardo’s Scotland in 1980s was inappropriate, says former director
Hugh Mackintosh has been giving evidence to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry.
A former director of Barnardo’s Scotland has said the organisation had an inappropriate culture and management who did not care when he joined.
Hugh Mackintosh moved north of the border to become assistant director in 1981, before promotion in 1991.
Speaking at the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry on Thursday, he said he did not feel welcome when he first arrived but he was not scared to “ruffle a few feathers” in order to tackle key issues.
There was a culture I didn't find particularly kind or enjoyable. Hugh Mackintosh
He said: “I wasn’t welcomed with open arms. I wasn’t particularly popular with the rest of the management team.
“Barnardo’s Scotland had this kind of ‘we’re a very caring division, very caring management team’ (attitude).
“I didn’t find it very caring. I found it had a rather inappropriate sense of humour.
“There was a culture I didn’t find particularly kind or enjoyable.”
The former director said during the 1980s, he found management would not challenge workers in the organisation’s residential units.
It was heard there was a lack of openness and teams were “reviewing themselves”.
If you're not occupying young people and doing creative things, life is pretty dull. Hugh Mackintosh
He said: “Be supportive, but supportive always agreeing.
“Real support is also about challenging – for everybody’s sake – pointing out what can be improved.”
The inquiry is currently investigating residential childcare establishments run by non-religious and voluntary organisations.
Mr Mackintosh – who worked as assistant director of Barnardo’s in London before his move to Scotland – also claimed emphasis was put on what the children and young people were struggling with, rather than encouraging their interests and skills.
He said: “You would see what the child was presenting wrongly, but where are the positives?
“What are we doing that may engage children often enough?
“If you’re not occupying young people and doing creative things, life is pretty dull.”
The inquiry, before Lady Smith in Edinburgh, continues.