NO2NP ROADSHOW: INVERNESS

The Waterside Hotel on the banks of the River Ness was the latest venue for the NO2NP Roadshow on Tuesday night this week.

Simon Calvert from The Christian Institute welcomed everyone and explained that the aim of the Named Person scheme was to “police children’s happiness” but that there was no way it was the role of the state to do this. Named Persons would effectively be “looking over parents’ shoulders” to see if they were “ticking all the boxes”.

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Gordon Macdonald from CARE for Scotland then spoke about the background to the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act (which introduced the Named Person scheme) and the “totally inadequate scrutiny” given to the Bill in its passage through Parliament. Even some MSPS who voted for it are now realising that they had been too enthusiastic about it, thanks to the NO2NP campaign.

He said opposition to the scheme, both inside and outside the Scottish Parliament, has been increasing, something that is “unusual” once a Bill has been passed. Gordon went on to speak about the judicial review of the legislation, which is currently on its way to the Supreme Court. He said that although the courts have rejected the judicial review so far, the situation has improved. The most recent ruling has restricted the level of interference: medical records of a general nature cannot now be shared.

And the court has recognised that the Named Person scheme must be interpreted in light of human rights and data protection legislation. Gordon stated that not only was there an inappropriate level of interference in family life under the scheme, it was also unmanageable.

Next up was Lesley Scott of TYMES Trust, who gave a critique of the radio interview Government minister Aileen Campbell had given following the court’s ruling last month, during which she had repeatedly said that the scheme does not infringe upon parents’ rights and responsibilities for raising children in any way.

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However, Lesley pointed out that, while existing law allows the state to override parents where there are child WELFARE concerns, the Named Person is now legally responsible for a child’s WELLBEING.

Although the GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child) team acknowledges that there is a difference between welfare and wellbeing, the Scottish Government and even the judiciary are constantly conflating and confusing the two. Welfare has a clear legal understanding (it is threatened when a child is at risk of significant harm) but wellbeing by contrast is not commonly understood in any context.

Indeed, on the Scottish Government website, wellbeing is described as “a complex, multi-faceted construct that has continued to elude researchers’ attempts to define and measure it”.

Nigel Kenny from The Christian Institute then provided some practical points for people to get engaged with the campaign, including helping out with the NO2NP Action Day in Inverness City Centre.

If you live in the Inverness area and would like to help raise the profile of the NO2NP campaign this Saturday, get in touch with us at admin@no2np.org – it would be great to see you there!

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