Press & Journal: “Flashpoint will come when state guardians start meddling with families”

An editorial in the popular Press & Journal newspaper has voiced strong concern about the named person scheme. In an editorial entitled ‘Extra help or nanny state gone mad?’, published on 7 February, the paper states:

“The well-meaning principle was to improve children’s lives and wellbeing but, possibly, the experts were given just a little too much latitude to tinker with it. The end result is the SNP’s ‘named person’ plan…

“Most parents would argue strongly that they don’t need any government interference, thank you very much. The Scottish Government states that a named person is only there for families who need ‘extra help’. Who decides that? Presumably, these are the same families who trigger the radar of any number of other agencies – police, social work, child protection and specialist charities – so why add another layer of bureaucracy?

“Rather than appoint a named person for every child, whether they like it or not, in the usual government scattergun approach, they should do it simply for families who actually need it. The government claims it should not take up any more time for those nominated named persons. That is surprising, as anyone who knows anything about counselling or guiding people with problems, also knows that this is time-consuming and requires special skills.

“We are told that in the Highlands, where a pilot scheme is running, the ‘vast majority’ of parents have had no contact with their named persons. So why bother? The flashpoint will come when state guardians start meddling with families who genuinely believe they are intruding unnecessarily. The policy is called ‘Getting it Right’, but it looks like they could easily get this wrong.”