NO2NP wins award for ‘Public Campaigner of the Year’

NO2NP has won the award for “Public Campaigner of the Year” at The Herald’s Scottish Politician of the Year Awards 2016 last night.

Listen: NO2NP wins Herald’s ‘Public Campaigner of the Year’ Award

winner badge

The category is described as: “A public award to recognise an individual or group that has best engaged with the political system to change legislation”.

Congratulations to every family that has stood up and said NO to Named Persons – this is recognition of your hard work and perseverance. Thank you for all your support.

On behalf of the campaign, the award was collected by Independent social worker and NO2NP supporter Maggie Mellon, Tom Hamilton the campaign’s PR guru, and Elaine Motion of Balfour+Manson LLP, solicitor on the successful Named Person court case.

Herald Awards

NO2NP spokesman Simon Calvert said: “We are absolutely delighted by this award which is a recognition of the efforts of everyone involved with the campaign – including the tens of thousands of families who have joined us in saying no to Named Persons.

“It’s been an excellent year for the campaign, with a constant stream of initiatives mobilising our supporters and drawing media attention to the countless intrusions and blunders associated with the Named Person scheme.

“On top of this, groups and parents involved with the campaign secured a terrific victory in the Supreme Court, which struck down the central provisions of the scheme.

“This award is the icing on the cake but the campaign is far from over. We and our supporters will continue to keep an eye on the scheme and all its manifestations.”

Herald comment: Named Persons turning into a PR disaster

Herald Scotland social affairs correspondent, Stephen Naysmith, has described the Named Person scheme as “a presentational fiasco”.

Naysmith highlights the Government’s failure to answer simple questions such as: “Will the scheme divert resources away from those who need them most? What happens if a named person thinks a child needs intervention but social workers think there is no need (or resources)? How will it help, teachers and health visitors already look out for children in their care?”

He stresses that “not being able to explain – clearly – why a universal named person scheme will be able to help families better or sooner than existing arrangements has been a disaster.”

Naysmith concluded: “Maybe the legislation is bad to the bone, or maybe it just needs to be better communicated. But ministers’ current favoured explanation – “you never know when someone’s going to need help” – just doesn’t cut it.”

He also commented on the recently revealed consultation responses to the Government’s guidance on how the Named Person scheme would work in practice.

Naysmith said: “The report on the Government’s guidelines was generous to a fault. For example it found 38% of organisations said examples in the guidance hadn’t been helpful, while 63% had. This is recorded as ‘in general, organisations found the examples… helpful’.

“Yet opaque jargon and a lack of detail have left the public suspicious. Even organisations repeatedly told researchers the guidance was complex, repetitive and left them none the wiser.”

Herald comment - PR disaster

Source: Named persons turning into a PR disaster for ministers, Herald Scotland, 06 July 2015

Media round up this week: w/b 29th June

Pressure has been mounting on the Scottish Government’s Named Person scheme this week, with a succession of media stories reporting serious concerns about the plans.

Teachers worry about increased workload as named person for pupils
Herald Scotland, 03 July 2015

Herald teachers worried

Minister falters over SNP “state snoopers” plan
Scottish Daily Mail, 03 July 2015
DM - minister falters over NP on radio phone in

Child plan could make risk harder to spot, police warn
The Times, 03 July 2015

Scottish Government under pressure over ‘state guardian’ plan
Scottish Daily Telegraph, 02 July 2015

Ken Macintosh demands review of Named Person plans
The Scotsman, 02 July 2015

Police Scotland criticise SNP Named Person plans
The Scotsman, 02 July 2015

Outrage over £100k PR bill to promote ‘state snoopers’
Scottish Daily Mail, 01 July 2015

Confusion over plans to appoint ‘named person’ for every child in Scotland
Herald Scotland, 01 July 2015

Front page Herald 1st July

Herald View — Getting it right for youngsters
Herald Scotland, 01 July 2015

Named person plans clarity sought
Press and Journal, 01 July 2015

Listen: Callers flood BBC with opposition to Named Person plans
No2NP, 03 July 2015

Teachers concerned over demands of Named Persons workload

Teachers, who are due to become Named Persons for their pupils, have voiced concerns about the increased workload the scheme will bring.

Herald Scotland reported a letter it had seen from the Scottish Government asking schools if their “existing on-call arrangements outside term time for senior staff could ensure the ‘continuity’ of the named person service”.

The country’s largest teachers’ union, EIS, said that it would have “serious concerns” about any related workload demands during holidays.

The union, which says it backs the scheme in principle, criticised the lack of clarity over how the scheme would work and said its members were becoming increasingly worried about the extra burden the Named Person role will place on them.

An EIS spokeswoman said: “While we await the publication of final statutory guidance on the role of the named person which comes into effect in August 2016, there is the problem that in schools across the country, different things are being said about how the named person service will operate. Teachers are becoming increasingly concerned about the demands likely to be made of them which will have implications for workload and potentially for conditions of service.

“The level of support the named person will be expected to provide is not yet clear and may vary greatly from case to case. For this reason, the default position should not be assumed that a school should always be expected to provide the named person irrespective of its capacity and resources.”

NO2NP spokesman, Simon Calvert, said: “Teachers have a hard enough time and carry out what can sometimes be a thankless job without adding to their burdens during their well-deserved holidays.”

Herald teachers worried

Herald Scotland: ‘The devil’s in the detail and we need answers’

An editorial in a newspaper that supports the Named Person scheme has expressed concerns about the plans and called on the Scottish Government to revisit the threshold for the Named Person.

In a leader comment accompanying a front page article, Herald Scotland concluded: “Above all the change in the threshold for intervention from the more appropriate “risk of serious harm” to the vague “concern over welfare” should be reconsidered.

The paper said it had consistently supported the Named Person scheme “but as always with well-intended laws the devil lies in the detail or, more usually, the legislative guidelines”.

In the editorial it said “we report with concern today the findings which show that the consultation over the guidelines issued on the legislation shows that even among the organisations directly involved only 55% describe these as clear”.

It stated: “Among health boards, royal colleges, local authorities and third sector bodies, almost half do not believe the guidelines are adequate. The issues are not minor – clarity over the named person (NP) role, around when parents can be excluded from decisions, what happens when the relationship between the NP and family breaks down, these are all big questions.

The paper also said there had been a “failure to clarify the terms of intervention”, pointed out “pragmatic concerns” such as the extra workload on “already hard-pressed health visitors and head teachers”, and raised questions about human rights concerns for parents.

NO2NP spokesman said the consultation responses indicated the growing strength of public opinion against the proposals and added:

“The fact is, when the public get a chance to have their say about the Named Person, it becomes very clear they don’t like it. Parents hijacked the recent government PR event at Hampden and hammered civil servants with awkward questions about the Named Person. Now it looks like parents have hijacked this consultation to start a fight back against the Named Person scheme. On some questions, these individuals are almost unanimous in their disagreement with the Government. The Government analysis tries to sweep these figures under the rug but there is not getting away from it: the public do not like the Named Person.

“What is clear from the consultation is that people are afraid. Afraid of unnecessary and unwarranted breaches of their family privacy. Afraid the Named Person will be unaccountable. The Government analysis countenances “clarifying the circumstances” in which the Named Person can “exclude” parents from decision making. We are not talking about ‘at risk’ children where, of course, social services can make decisions over the heads of abusive or neglectful parents. No. The job of the Named Person is to monitor and enforce children’s happiness according to a Government checklist. The official information leaflet for parents says the Named Person can intervene in decisions about decorating a child’s bedroom or what they watch on TV. Is that the kind of decision from which parents might be “excluded”?

“And how can the Government still talk as if there is any scope for an “opt out” when their own lawyer told the Court of Session that allowing families to opt out would “defeat the purpose of the scheme”. There is no opt out in the legislation so how can there be one in the guidance?

“The Government document repeatedly highlights ‘organisational’ responses and ignores members of the public in order to scrape together 55% support for their Named Person guidance. But 98% of responses from individuals opposed it. Governments are infamous for trying to spin statistics but this is shocking.

Consultation respondents table

Herald Scotland editorial, 1st July 2015
Herald Leader - 1st July

Herald Scotland, 1st July 2015
Front page Herald 1st July

Online sources
Herald View — Getting it right for youngsters

Confusion over plans to appoint ‘named person’ for every child in Scotland

The Herald: Fears “that NHS staff and teachers…will become swamped with extra work.”

Concerns about how the Scottish Government’s policy of allocating a Named Person to virtually every child in Scotland will impact upon the professionals who will have to fill the role have been expressed even by those who support the scheme.

NO2NP have long been arguing that teachers, who will account for the vast majority of Named Persons, are being asked to take on a significant new responsibility without any obvious extra resource being provided.

Now, according to a report in The Herald on 7 February, both the Royal College of Nursing Scotland and the Association of Headteachers and Deputies in Scotland, are voicing similar worries.

The article states:

“Plans to appoint state-appointed ‘named persons’ to look out for the welfare of every child in Scotland are continuing despite fresh concerns that NHS staff and teachers appointed to the roles will become swamped with extra work.

“There is no limit on the number of children a single person can have responsibility for, meaning a headteacher could potentially become named person to several hundred pupils.

“Theresa Fyffe, Director of the Royal College of Nursing Scotland, said the scheme, which is already being rolled out in areas including Highland, Edinburgh, Fife, Angus and South Ayrshire, would enhance existing public services. However, she warned that if the approach was to be successful, it must be fully resourced. Both the NHS and local authorities, who would largely be responsible for implementing the policy, are facing significant pressure to their budgets. Ms Fyffe said:

‘We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to recruiting more health visitors, but with the named person responsibility coming on top of recent changes to the workload of health visitors, many of our health visitor members have deep concerns that even with the planned boost in numbers there just won’t be enough hours in the day to fulfil this important role.’

“The position was echoed by Greg Dempster, General Secretary of the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland, who said that while he was supportive of the named person policy, questions remained over the increased burden it would create for school leaders. He added:

‘The Government and local authorities are trying to bring that bureaucratic burden down, but we are very concerned about the workload that this might generate. It’s something that needs to be worked through in good time, before full commencement.’”

Media Coverage of the Named Person legal action

The much anticipated legal challenge against the Scottish Government’s controversial Named Person provisions got underway this week in Edinburgh’s Court of Session. Aidan O’Neill QC is representing the campaigners opposing the scheme and warns that plans for a Named Person for every child in Scotland is a “dangerous route to go down”.

See the latest news roundup on the court case:

Lawyer slams SNP’s state guardian project
Scottish Daily Express

Legal challenge to child guardian plan begins
The Scotsman

Legal challenge to ‘named person’ bill starts
The Herald (£)

Named person legal challenge starts
The Courier

Named guardian legal bid to start
BBC News

Named persons legal bid to start
Press and Journal

The scale of opposition to the child guardian plan suggests the SNP has got it wrong
The Telegraph

Named persons legal bid to start
The Courier

Legal fight starts over SNP ‘state guardian for every child’
The Telegraph

Challenge to child guardians law begins
The Times (£)

Named person legal challenge starts
Glasgow Evening Times

Media Coverage of the Named Person legal challenge launch

Legal papers challenging the Scottish Government’s Named Person plans were lodged at Edinburgh’s Court of Session yesterday. There is widespread opposition to the proposals and concerned parents and other groups turned up to help deliver the documents under the spotlight of the media.

Here is a round up of the news reports.

Group take campaign against ‘named guardian’ plans to court
STV News

Bid to block named person plan goes to Court of Session
BBC News

Scottish child guardian bid faces legal challenge
The Scotsman

SNP’s state guardian plan is ‘against the law’ say court challengers
Scottish Daily Express

Nationalists’ nanny state must leave families alone
Scottish Daily Express

Campaigners start court fight against child guardian law
The Herald

Legal bid to scrap the state snoopers
Scottish Daily Mail

Opponents of ‘named person’ policy begin legal challenge
The Telegraph (Scotland)

Dangerous move by the state
The Press and Journal

Legal bid to tackle Scots guardian bill
The Press and Journal

Challenge to guardian law in court
The Courier & Advertiser

Child guardian challenge lodged
The Glasgow South and Eastwood Extra

Video: Named Person legal action launched
The Christian Institute

Scotland Issuing Government Guardian For Every Child, Act Sparks Backlash
Inquisitr

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