The Scotsman: “Scrap this unwanted law”

The Scotsman leader 7 June 2014

Sometimes what sounds like a good idea in theory turns out to be completely unworkable in practice. This looks to be the case with the laws passed by the Scottish Parliament earlier this year to ensure that every child in Scotland should have a “named person” who would keep a check on his or her welfare and development.

It sounded like a good idea because of distressing cases where children have been neglected or abused, and even died at the hands of their parents and supposed carers. In some of these cases, outside agencies have been told of concerns regarding the child but through lack of clear lines of responsibility, action that could have prevented further harm was not taken.

But opposition to what in effect is a state guardian for every child, be that person a teacher or social worker, has grown enormously. It is coming from not just across the political spectrum, but from across the range of professionals who deal with child welfare.

That these opponents, who will meet in Edinburgh on Monday, are willing to pay for a £30,000 court action aimed at securing a ruling that the politicians have exceeded their powers testifies to the depth and seriousness of their opposition. The central objection is that this law marginalises the responsibilities of parents and gives the state a right to intrude into homes, which goes well beyond rights authorities already have but which can only be acted on when there is reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

For laws to work well, they must have public consent. It is becoming clear neither the public not the professionals who are supposed to implement this law acc­ept it. It should be scrapped.

Saturday 7 June 2014

Click here to read this article on The Scotsman website.