MSP MAKES FLAWED CLAIM THAT ‘NAMED PERSON HAS NO POWERS TO COMPEL’

Last month MSP Stewart Maxwell confidently stated during a Named Person debate in the Scottish Parliament that “the named person has no powers to compel parents or children to do anything without their consent”.

But we wonder if Mr Maxwell has ever read the Named Person legislation or the accompanying 90-page guidance… Because if he had, he would struggle to find much about parental consent…

Named Persons are given vast functions including “advising”, “informing” and “discussing” at their own discretion – without the need for parental consent.

Here’s what the Act itself actually says the Named Person’s functions include:

“…doing such of the following where the named person considers it to be appropriate in order to promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing of the child or young person—

(i) advising, informing or supporting the child or young person, or a parent of the child or young person,

(ii) helping the child or young person, or a parent of the child or young person, to access a service or support, or

(iii) discussing, or raising, a matter about the child or young person with a service provider or relevant authority”.

Parental consent is never mentioned in the Act. And it’s pretty clear that it’s up to Named Persons to decide when and how they carry out their functions.

Does Mr Maxwell still think that the Named Person has no powers to compel parents?

Let’s see what the Scottish Government’s Statutory Guidance says…

“Named Person functions fall into three main categories:
a) advising, informing or supporting the child or young person, or a parent of the child or young person. This may involve the Named Person providing direct help to the child, young person or parent, either after a request for assistance, or when a wellbeing need has been identified, or following an assessment of the child’s or young person’s wellbeing” (para. 4.1.22).

It’s accepted even by the Scottish Government that “wellbeing” is an extremely subjective term. Many parents have been asking what would happen if a parent disagrees with what the state thinks is right for their child. Where does that leave the parent?

The functions of the Named Person…continued:

“b) helping the child or young person, or a parent of the child or young person, to access a service or support. The Named Person may feel that the child or young person might benefit from support from a service other than their own. They will discuss the most appropriate approach with other practitioners and seek assistance to support the child, young person or parent to access the service if appropriate” (para. 4.1.22).

No sign of the need for parental consent here… Can you spot any?

During the Judicial Review of the legislation last year the Scottish Government QC admitted that if a teenager discovered she was pregnant whilst in hospital the Named Person would definitely be informed, but he wasn’t sure about the parents.

Still think that “the named person has no powers to compel parents or children to do anything without their consent”, as Maxwell stated? Okay, let’s look at one more function of the Named Person…sharing a child’s personal data:

“c) discussing or raising a matter about a child or young person with a service provider or relevant authority. The Named Person may identify or be made aware of a wellbeing need, which – in their professional judgement – requires advice and support from another agency. The Named Person will discuss this with the child or young person and parents, as appropriate, and may then need to discuss the wellbeing issue with professionals in other agencies, sharing information in order to complete the assessment of the child’s or young person’s needs. They may also need to share information to get specialist advice about what kind of service or support would be most appropriate for the child or young person” (para. 4.1.22).

Still no sign of “parental consent” here… Not only does the Named Person not need to seek parental consent, it looks like the Named Person only needs to discuss matters with parents if they deem it ‘appropriate’.

Looks to us like Named Persons have plenty of powers which do not require parental consent.

You can read the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 here and the full guidance here.

Sign the petition

Share:
people have
signed the
petition so far

"I oppose the Scottish Government's plan to assign a 'Named Person' to every child in Scotland because it undermines families and diverts resources from children who need them."

I am a resident of Scotland and 16-years-old or over

* We need your postcode to ensure you are a resident of Scotland. If you choose to receive email updates (below) this also enables us to send information relevant to your local area.

Our emails are delivered through MailChimp. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Your details will not be published. NO2NP will not sell or trade your data. We hold and process your data in line with our privacy policy. You will receive a confirmation email upon signing the petition but will not receive further updates unless you have ticked the box above.