Named Persons: Here for you – except when they’re not

Teachers say NO

Teachers say NO to being a Named Person during holidays

The Scottish Government has issued advice to parents and families on the Named Person service including that “Your Named Person is there to help you and your child if you need them.” The ‘GIRFEC Q & A for parents and families’ pushes the idea that Named Persons are the key to making “sure children get the right help at the right time”.

The Named Person, we are told, “will be central to making the system work”. In trying to describe what a Named Person is, the Scottish Government explains that “The Act and supporting guidance sets out a clear set of steps for practitioners to follow to make sure the right information is shared at the right time, so that the right help is offered”.

“A Named Person”, it is explained, “will be available to listen, advise and help a child or young person and their parent(s), provide direct support or help them access other services.” Except of course if the Named Person has finished for the day and gone home – or it happens to be a weekend.

The Association of Scottish Principal Educational Psychologists developed Touchpoint Programmes at the end of 2014. These are “designed to be used by Strategic and Operational Managers tasked with the implementation of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014” to assist in preparing guidance for practitioners.

This document states that “there is no intention that the Named person service will be available out with working hours”. And yet the rationale persistently put forward for GIRFEC and the Named Person – indeed, the justification for it in the face of increasing opposition – is the potential for early intervention.

Given that the out-of-hours ‘service’ is only designed for “matters requiring urgent attention and action”, which are dealt with through existing Child Protection procedures, the Named Person is apparently not involved in such situations at all.

Recently the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest teaching union, came out and said that its members would not fulfil the duties and functions of the Named Person service at weekends or during holidays.

So the Named Person service, even though it is apparently “central to making the system work” is only available within working hours. Detecting those early wellbeing concerns to initiate early intervention will all conveniently be picked up between 9am & 4pm, Monday to Friday.

The right time to access the right help is not decided by the needs of the child but rather the contractual working hours of the Named Person.

Named Persons – there ‘if you need them’ – except of course if it’s before 9am, or after 4pm, or on weekends or half term, Easter Break or Christmas or…

Children’s charity chief changes tune

Until recently, Alex Cole-Hamilton, policy chief at Aberlour Child Care Trust was a staunch advocate of the Named Person scheme who was often wheeled out by the Government to defend it:

But reality, it seems, has caught up with him.

Facing countless parents on the doorsteps as he beats the streets of Edinburgh Western as a candidate for the Holyrood elections, he appears to have had something of a conversion.

The Daily Mail says he is calling for parents to be given power to reject their Named Person if the relationship breaks down. Apparently, if no concrete right is inserted in the Named Person scheme, he would advise his party, the Liberal Democrats, to reconsider its support.

Now, his proposal does not begin to address the heart of our concerns, but the very fact that he is talking about changing the Named Person scheme at all, and threatening to withdraw support, is a welcome turn around. After all, lots of people change their minds about the Named Person scheme once they understand what it really means in practice. That’s why more and more people are saying No to Named Persons.

Listen here to what Alex Cole-Hamilton said last year on BBC Radio Scotland in a debate with our own Lesley Scott of TYMES Trust.

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

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

NO2NP Roadshow: East Kilbride

The Arran Suite at the Holiday Inn, East Kilbride, was filled to capacity for the latest NO2NP Roadshow event before the summer break.

Community paediatrician Dr Jenny Cunningham told those gathered that concerns about the scheme were far more than questioning a different health model or budgeting constraints: it is about scrutinising families and undermining parental autonomy, which is the basis for a democratic society, she said.

She went on to explain that the role of the community paediatrician has been redefined by this legislation. While previously 80% of her work was about various disabilities in children, and only 20% about vulnerable children, now 70-80% of her work has to do with assessing vulnerability through the SHANARRI ‘wellbeing’ indicators.

SHANARRI stands for; safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included.

She finished by saying that she and many of her colleagues were very concerned about the new obligation to share confidential information.

Next up was Lesley Scott of TYMES Trust, who said she had watched a video on South Lanarkshire Council’s website about young children and the importance of good attachment. Yet nothing was said about parents and children or families.

Lesley went on to explain – and display – the 13 pages of “outcome signifiers” to wellbeing that the University of Edinburgh had drawn up. South Lanarkshire Council had also produced 398 pages of guidance for named persons and Lesley queried whether everyone would interpret it the same way. The guidance estimates that 20-30% of children and young people will require additional input from state agencies.

Lesley expressed her concern that there is no facility for parents or children to disagree with the Named Person’s professional assessment of what is “needed” and parents will have no control over the ever-changing standard of parenting to which they will be held.

There was a very lively and extended Q&A, where several people questioned whether Named Persons knew anything about the real world of parenting, especially when some of them may have no children of their own.

The NO2NP Roadshow will be taking a break for a few weeks over the summer, but do watch out for further events we have planned for later in the year!

In the meantime, a big thank you to everyone who has come to these Roadshows – please continue to tell your friends about the campaign and encourage them to sign the petition.

 

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Community paediatrician Dr Jenny Cunningham

 

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Lesley Scott showing 13 pages of “outcome signifiers” compiled by Edinburgh University.

PARENTS TRAINED ON HOW TO GIVE THEIR KIDS STATE-APPROVED “GOOD LIFE”

Parents will be told at a training day today that their children will be monitored by state officials who will “check every child has what they need to have a good life”.

Organisers behind the ‘GetLive GIRFEC Event For Parents’ were accused of bribing parents into supporting the Named Person scheme when it was revealed they were offering £25 vouchers and free travel and refreshments, along with free childcare, to attend the event.

In a leaflet, ‘An Easy Read Guide To… Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC)’, sent to delegates ahead of today’s event, the state benchmark of a “good life” is set out for parents in detail.

GIRFEC is the policy behind the Named Person scheme.

Explaining its SHANARRI “wellbeing” indicators, the booklet tells parents there are “8 things every child needs to have a good life”.

SHANARRI stands for; safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included.

The leaflet instructs parents about what they should and should not do in order to fulfil these Government parenting standards. It makes clear that the job of the Named Person – and other officials like social workers and doctors – is to check parents are complying with these standards.

It states: “People who work with your child will check…”
– “Your child gets praise when they do well”
– “Your child does activities they like to do”
– “Your child gets a say in things like how their room is decorated and what to watch on TV”
– “You trust your child to do the right thing”
– “Your child can be part of a group like Scouts, Brownies or a football group if they want to”

The leaflet also says state officials will check which people are around your child, where your child lives and what is going on in your child’s life. They will even “think about what is good about your child’s environment”, and “think about what could be better”.

Read the full leaflet here

A spokesman for NO2NP said: “We have warned all along that the Named Person scheme would undermine parents’ responsibility for their own children and allow state officials unprecedented powers to interfere with family life.

“This leaflet confirms that the Named Person is intended to take a highly intrusive role in ordinary family life. It’s effectively an admission that critics of the scheme have been right all along. “

“The list of things the Named Person – and doctors, nurses, teachers social workers – ‘will check’ is outrageous. It is exactly the kind of invasive behaviour we’ve been warning about.

“For example, if a child doesn’t like the colour scheme or wants to watch films containing horrendous violence or sex scenes, the child can complain to the Named Person who then adjudicates on the family’s decisions about décor and who holds the TV remote control. It is absolutely outrageous.

“In the past the Scottish Government and their officials have attempted to dismiss opponents of this scheme for exaggerating its impact.

“Clearly, we were right all along and they have been trying to keep us all in the dark about what they really intend.

“Unless parents wake up quickly to what the Named Person is really about and make their voices heard, many of them will face a level of state monitoring of the minutiae of parenting that is unprecedented in our history.

“This is not about protecting vulnerable children. It is not about helping families who want help. It is about policing parenting according to a state ‘happiness’ index. Families cannot thrive under that kind of ‘big brother’ scrutiny.”

NO2NP Roadshow: Dumfries highlights

There was a good turnout at the Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries on Wednesday night for the latest stop of the NO2NP Roadshow.

Those present heard Gordon Macdonald from CARE for Scotland explain why the universality of the Named Person scheme was both unhelpful and unnecessary. He said that it had been introduced into the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill quite late in the day and MSPs hadn’t had much opportunity to scrutinise it. However, many were now having second thoughts about it.

He went on to say that there is a view in Holyrood that the state has primary responsibility for children, but he said it was “the job of the state to support the nation’s parents, not the job of parents to support the state”.

The next speaker was Lesley Scott of TYMES Trust, who started by saying she had not come across a single parent who had asked for the Named Person scheme. None of the young parents present said they had asked for it either.

Lesley also mentioned the new ‘super database’. The Scottish Government plans to introduce this in conjunction with the Named Person scheme, and it will have every child’s full medical information included in it.

Lesley finished by explaining that NHS Dumfries and Galloway has stated that a child will have a Named Person from its conception.

There was a very lively Q&A, during which the unworkable nature of the scheme was highlighted.

The final NO2NP Roadshow event before the summer break will take place at the Holiday Inn, Stewartfield Way in East Kilbride next Monday, 22nd June, at 7.30pm, when paediatrician Dr Jenny Cunningham will be one of the speakers – do plan to come and let your friends know about it too!

Snapshot of Dumfries Roadshow

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ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL CHECKLIST FOR PARENTING? … IF ONLY IT WAS SO SIMPLE…

The latest addition to the Scottish Government’s parenting toolbox comes in the form of a tidy tick list. The one-size-fits-all Government guide to bringing up happy and healthy children was branded ‘sinister’ in the Mail On Sunday, which broke the news at the weekend.

The paper reported that concerns may be raised over a child’s ‘well-being’ if it was found that a filling was required at the dentist, if the child was found to be disruptive at school, or if the child didn’t fancy helping with voluntary work.

The checklist is part of the controversial Named Person scheme and designed to help the state official ‘monitor’ and ‘assess’ children as they grow up.

Some other ‘indicators’ which could trigger an investigation involving social workers includes a child’s failure to display ‘positive attitudes to others’ sexuality’, failure by the child to display general optimism, or if he or she is seen to commit sporting fouls.

View the checklist below (as seen in the Scottish Mail On Sunday)
DM - checklist

This is a worryingly broad list of potential ‘indicators’, with a threshold so low and so vague that most ordinary parents could find themselves ‘under investigation’.

Parenting cannot simply be made into a state-sanctioned formula or equation. Every family is different. Parents hold a diverse range of views determining what they believe is best for their children.

And every child is unique, with their own gifts and temperaments. The majority of regular mums and dads recognise this and try to care for each child with a personal understanding that only loving parents can do.

Parenting is so much more than a tick box exercise.

NO2NP supporter, Liz Smith MSP, said: “This checklist is a sinister example of how Named Persons would work. Some examples on the checklist simply cannot or should not be measured.

“The vast majority of parents across Scotland do a thoroughly good job of bringing up their children and therefore have no need nor any wish to have a Named Person for their children.”

But a spokesman for the Scottish Government defended the checklist and insisted: “This guide is a tool for professionals – senior teachers or health workers. It is a list of issues that might be taken into account when considering the well-being of a child or young person.”

SOURCE: Scottish Mail On Sunday, 14 June 2015

NO2NP ROADSHOW: GALASHIELS HIGHLIGHTS

The latest NO2NP Roadshow event was held on a beautiful, sunny evening in Galashiels last night.

Gordon Macdonald, who is CARE for Scotland’s Parliamentary Officer, spoke first. He said that the family is the fundamental unit in society and, as such, deserves respect. This respect for the family is “integral” to key human rights documents, but we have seen a reinterpretation of them in recent years which marginalises parents. The Named Person legislation is a really significant shift away from child welfare to a wellbeing model that is very vague and broad. We are seeing a fundamental shift in the ideology of how the state relates to all children, he explained.

Next up was Lesley Scott of TYMES Trust, who as usual highlighted what the local authority for the area was doing about the scheme. Borders Council has devised a “Cootie Catcher” so that children can learn how to assess their wellbeing. The Council has also created a snakes and ladders type game called “On the trail of the Wellbeing Snail”, where cards are selected when a player lands on a square that determines whether they make progress or go backwards.

Click the snail for more information
Wellbeing snail

The notorious SHANARRI wellbeing indicators of safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included are key to this game and are intended to show children when a “wellbeing outcome” has been achieved. Examples included whether a parent had washed their child’s gym kit the night before and whether a parent had listened to their child if they were upset.

Lesley went on to explain the Wellbeing Wheel, the My World triangle, the Resilience Matrix and Genogram, all part of the Scottish Government’s “toolkit” for assessing, analysing and addressing every child’s perceived “wellbeing” needs.

After Nigel Kenny from The Christian Institute brought everyone up to date about the judicial review appeal to the Inner House of the Court of Session last week, there was the usual lively Q&A, when those who had come raised a wide range of concerns about the scheme.

The NO2NP Roadshow will be calling at the Gracefield Arts Centre, Edinburgh Road, Dumfries next Wednesday, 17th June at 7.30pm – we look forward to seeing some of you there!

Snapshot of Galashiels
Galashiels edit 2

Galashiels edit 5

Galashiels edit 4

Galashiels edit

TEEN PREGNANCY: DEFINITELY INFORM NAMED PERSON, BUT NOT SURE ABOUT PARENTS, SAYS GOVERNMENT QC

During last week’s appeal hearing against the Named Person law, the Scottish Government’s QC told the court that if a young girl was in hospital and discovered to be pregnant then the Named Person would definitely be contacted…but didn’t seem to know whether the parents would be informed.

Alistair Clark QC, representing the Scottish Government, was meant to be defending the scheme but instead managed to present a convincing case as to why the Named Person would be damaging for families.

Clark’s comments regarding teenage pregnancy reveal one of the major flaws with the Named Person scheme – it would bypass parents.

As we reported earlier in the week Clark also told judges during the hearing that the scheme was needed because every child in Scotland was deemed to be “potentially vulnerable”.

This greatly undermines ordinary Scottish families and is chilling stuff from the Scottish Government’s QC.

Any Government scheme which puts parents in second place after the state in relation to their own children is flawed from the outset.

Aidan O’Neill QC, representing those bringing the legal challenge, said the Named Person would be “a state functionary who has the power to interfere in the lives of every child in Scotland and in family life…the power to come between the child and their parents”.

He added that the Named Person’s powers to obtain and share confidential data on families without consent or veto constituted further interference.

The judges are currently considering their verdict, which is expected to take several weeks.

The Named Person provisions are contained in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, which was passed by the Scottish Parliament last year. The scheme is due to be rolled out across Scotland in 2016. Some areas of Scotland already have a non-statutory Named Person pilot scheme in operation but they do not have the full range of legal powers contained in the Act.

‘This is about empowering Named Person to police happiness of Scottish children’

During a BBC Radio Scotland debate last week Lesley Scott of ME children’s charity TYMES Trust, a supporter of NO2NP, warned that the Scottish Government’s plan was about “empowering the Named Person to police the happiness of Scottish children”.

Scott was debating Alex Cole-Hamilton, Head of Policy at children’s charity Aberlour and a proponent of the Named Person scheme. Cole-Hamilton failed to give a single example of how the Named Person scheme had made a positive impact when pressed by BBC presenter Kaye Adams.

Adams asked Cole-Hamilton: “What was happening that made anyone feel that this was necessary? Where was the gap? Where was the lack?”

Referring to the Highlands pilot he responded saying there had been “some really good examples of this drawing the threads together”.

Adams however said drawing the threads together was an “airy fairy expression” and asked for further clarification.

She pressed Cole-Hamilton again, saying: “Give me a positive example of where this has made a child or a family’s life better?

Cole-Hamilton again failed to provide a single example, but instead admitted it was about “prevention”.

He said: “I don’t have specific case examples to give you because this is all about prevention.”

Listen to the full exchange from 7 minutes 10 seconds

TYMES Trust’s Lesley Scott refuted Cole-Hamilton’s claims about the Named Person creating a single point of contact. She said parents already know who they need to go to if there is a problem, they already know who their child’s teacher, GP or health visitor is. These are all people who are already in place, she added.

Scott explained that the Named Person can access and share confidential medical data and school records. She continued: “They can question a child and give them advice, and supply services to them without the parents’ consent, and on the basis of what they think is most likely to make them happy”.

Scott also pointed out that the scheme was not about identifying significant risk or harm but about wellbeing, which is “a lower, broader undefined threshold”.

Scott also questioned how the scheme will work in practice. She raised concerns about the “enormous bureaucratic burden of the Named person” scheme on teachers and health visitors, who would be expected to administer the scheme, professions which she says are already at breaking point.

She said looking for children at risk is like looking for a needle in a haystack but all the Named Person scheme is doing is making the haystack bigger.

‘All children potentially vulnerable’, Scottish Government QC tells judge

Last week’s appeal hearing rehearsed many concerning reasons why the Named Person scheme is not compatible with a free and democratic society, but perhaps the most revealing and worrying comment came from the Scottish Government’s QC.

Pressed by Lord Malcolm on why every child needed to have a Named Person, when not all of them were at risk, Alistair Clark QC, representing the Scottish Government, stated that every child was deemed to be “potentially vulnerable”.

Mr Clark’s words expose the thinking behind these intrusive plans.

A NO2NP spokesman said: “The assumption that all Scottish children are potentially vulnerable is patronising to all ordinary parents trying to do their best to bring up their children.

“The Scottish Government is saying to normal mums and dads that they all need the state to be a co-parent to stop them leaving their child potentially vulnerable.

“This unwarranted intrusion into family life is undermining and unnecessary.”

During the appeal hearing last week Aidan O’Neill QC, representing those bringing the legal challenge against the Named Person, addressed conflict between respect for the family and responsibility for the protection of children from harm.

He said there was no pressing social need requiring interference in the lives of every family and said: “The overwhelming majority of children are not neglected and the Named Person scheme subverts family life and supplants parents.”

He said: “We accept there is a legitimate state interest in the protection of the vulnerable, but this is not just dealing with the vulnerable, it’s dealing with all children.

“Most families do not need the state to get involved. Some parents – a tiny minority – do cause harm to their children but that does not justify appointing a named person to every child.”

Mr O’Neill pointed out that the Named Person scheme had been drawn up to promote children’s ‘wellbeing’ – a concept which, according to the Government, can include everything from mental health to a “wider vision of happiness”. He responded, “That’s what parents do and have done through the ages. It’s not the state’s job.

Mr O’Neill raised the concern that the central assumption behind the scheme is that “the state knows best”.

‘THIS IS WORSE THAN THE NANNY STATE’, QC TELLS COURT ON DAY 1 OF APPEAL

Yesterday, Aidan O’Neill QC, representing campaigners challenging the Named Person scheme, told Scotland’s highest court that the plan to give every child in Scotland a state guardian was “incompatible with the fundamental rights of a democratic society”.

O’Neill, a leading human rights expert, said the scheme created a situation “worse than a nanny state because the nanny is at least responsible to the family”.

He was speaking at the start of the appeal hearing by opponents of the Named Person legislation, after Lord Pentland rejected their initial bid last year.

During the appeal, in Edinburgh’s Court of Session, Mr O’Neill said the state should support the family in the upbringing of children as the family is the fundamental group unit of the state and entitled to state protection.

He said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written to counter Nazi and Fascist totalitarian states which placed value on “uniformity and conformity” and to point out that “the child is not the mere creature of the state”.

He told the court the scheme didn’t require families to give consent and offered no chance to opt in or out and said: “The presumption is every child needs a named person. That is wrong. The vast majority of parents bring up their children perfectly well. For the state to assume a responsibility for every child regardless of need or threat of harm is to go beyond what we properly expect from a democratic society that respects families and respects diversity.”

Based on the guidance issued by the Scottish Government he also drew attention to the fact that: “Not only can you not opt out of the scheme you have to positively co-operate with the named person otherwise you could be characterised as ‘hostile’ or ‘non-engaging’ which leads to further state involvement. ”

He said the compulsory nature of the law and the need to collate data on every child would result in “white noise” meaning “those who do need help get lost”.

Mr O’Neill recognised that there are conflicting issues between respect for the family and responsibility for the protection of children from harm. But he said there was no pressing social need requiring interference in the lives of every family and continued: “The overwhelming majority of children are not neglected and the Named Person scheme subverts family life and supplants parents.”

He said the scheme was drawn up to promote ‘wellbeing’ (which can include everything from mental health to a “wider vision of happiness”) among children but said: “That’s what parents do and have done through the ages. It’s not the state’s job.

“We accept there is a legitimate state interest in the protection of the vulnerable, but this is not just dealing with the vulnerable, it’s dealing with all children.

“Most families do not need the state to get involved. Some parents – a tiny minority – do cause harm to their children but that does not justify appointing a named person to every child.”

He said the central assumption behind the scheme is that “the state knows best” whereas families “are the breeding ground of diversity and individuality”.

The legal action is being brought by The Christian Institute, CARE, TYMES Trust and the Family Education Trust, with the support of academics and individual parents, all of which support the NO2NP campaign.

The appeal before Lord Carloway, Lord Malcolm and Lord Bracadale continues today with the Scottish Government’s response.

The Named Person scheme is part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act and is expected to be implemented nationwide in 2016.

Support the Named Person for £25 Gift voucher and free public transport?

The Scottish Government is offering parents a £25 gift voucher, transport costs and free refreshments if they attend an event to find out how the Named Person scheme will work.

Parents will even be offered free childcare during the event.

The Scottish Government has been criticised for trying to buy public approval of the controversial scheme.

Organisers have hired Hampden for the planned event on 20th June.

Get Live

A NO2NP spokesman commented: “Having lost the argument over their Big Brother plans in the court of public opinion we now find ourselves confronted with a Scottish Government attempting to buy approval for their discredited state guardian scheme.”

He added: “They can dress it up any way they like by calling it an information exercise or an advice session providing guidance for families.

“But the bottom line is that they are now using public funds in an effort to secure approval with this rather cynical attempt to bribe people into supporting the GIRFEC principles which underpin the Named Person proposals.

“Surely the money would be far better spent on funding social workers who are actually working with vulnerable children and needy families.

“No Government should be using taxpayers money in this way to try to buy support for their policies. Especially not one as unpopular and intrusive as the Named Person scheme.”

NAMED PERSON APPEAL HEARING: Campaigners back in court today

Campaigners opposing the Named Person scheme are back in court today for an appeal hearing after their legal challenge was rejected last year.

Lord Pentland rejected arguments that MSPs had exceeded their powers, breaching human rights rules and data protection laws, in a Judicial Review aimed at having the legislation overturned.

Now three judges will consider the proposals again.

The legal action is being brought by The Christian Institute, CARE, TYMES Trust and the Family Education Trust, with the support of academics and individual parents, all of which support the NO2NP campaign.

Community Law Advice Network (Clan Childlaw), a charity that provides legal help for children, also raised concerns about the scheme and announced it will intervene in the case.

Simon Calvert of The Christian Institute, said: “We’re asking the court to make a ruling that the imposition of a Named Person on every child in Scotland is unconstitutional and a breach of the right to a private family life.

He said they wanted the “court to look behind the Government’s rhetoric and see how this is not about protecting vulnerable children. It is about making the state a co-parent, with power to second-guess and over-ride parenting decisions about what makes a child happy. It’s Government-approved-parenting writ large”.

He added: “The trigger for intervention by the Named Person is not where there is a ‘risk of harm’. The threshold at which the Named Person can intervene in the lives of Scottish families is merely the ‘promotion of well-being’.

“The Named Person is, in effect, legally empowered to police the happiness of Scottish children. He can access and share their confidential medical data, their school records, he can question children and give them advice and supply services to them without their parents’ consent – all on the basis of what he thinks is most likely to make them happy. That is an outrage. Thousands of people across Scotland know it is an outrage, and that’s why they’ll all be hoping our judicial review succeeds.”

Named Person scheme – ‘Stalinist blueprint for a happy childhood’

Graham Grant, Home Affairs Editor for the Scottish Daily Mail has written a stark warning against the Named Person scheme, branding it a “Stalinist blueprint for a happy childhood”.

Commenting on recent remarks by Bob Fraser, the civil servant driving forward the Named Person scheme, he said: “It may have sounded at first like a calm explanation of a sensible policy. But, in reality, what was presented was a chilling manifesto for effectively outsourcing parenting to the state and to its legion of officials”.

He continued: “In essence, government officials have been quietly drawing up guidelines for a happy childhood – a kind of Stalinist, state-endorsed blueprint for a healthy and contented upbringing, which must be adhered to at all costs.

“This idea of compulsory compliance with a set of government-imposed ideals is, of course, a facet of totalitarian states, which rely on the micromanagement and strict regulation of private and family life.

“The ‘enforcers’ are the named persons themselves – mainly health visitors and head teachers – who will log perceived deficiencies in the child, perhaps demanding confidential medical records to back up their concerns”.

Fraser, the Getting it Right for Every Child health adviser in the Scottish Government’s Better Life Chances unit, suggested parents could be judged on how much they show their child ‘love, hope and spirituality’.

Grant commented on this point stating: “By setting arbitrary yardsticks based on ‘love, hope and spirituality’ – which, in any event, may seem more appropriate for a New Age commune – the named persons hope to uncover ‘problems’ that previously did not exist.

“Parents may soon be asked imponderable questions such as: ‘Have you thought about imbuing your child with more hope?’ Or: ‘Did you realise your child was falling short on the “spirituality” index?’

“Hope is a subjective concept and once the state is in charge of its definition, the scope for its abuse becomes clear. Ultimately, why should the state have a clearer idea of what hope and happiness mean than parents, or anyone else?”

Grant also commented on the “scale of intrusion” the Named Person scheme poses warning that it is “far greater than most people realise”.

He writes: “Pivotal to the smooth operation of the system is the free flow of personal information between public bodies. The named person can demand sensitive personal information, for example, from the NHS, if they believe the circumstances demand it.

“In fact, the named person will be assigned to children while they are still in the womb. Yet how many prospective parents are aware of this horrifying detail – an act of antenatal appropriation by state officials?”

Source: The Scottish Daily Mail, 02 June 2015

Media Round Up: NO2NP Petition Launch and Action Day

Media coverage of the NO2NP petition launch and Action Day

‘Named person’ opponents step up campaign
The Scotsman, 31 May 2015

‘Named person’ opponents campaign
The Courier, 31 May 2015

‘Named person’ opponents campaign
Press and Journal, 31 May 2015

‘Named person’ critics step up campaign
BBC News, 31 May 2015

Fresh campaign to fight ‘state guardian’ scheme
The Sunday Times (£), 31 May 2015

Campaign against ‘named person’ plan steps up ahead of court ruling
STV, 31 May 2015

Protesters gathering names against named persons law in Dundee
The Courier, 30 May 2015

Parents could be reported for not giving kids enough ‘love, hope and spirituality’

The top civil servant behind the Named Person scheme has suggested parents could be reported to state officials if judged to be showing their child inadequate levels of ‘love, hope and spirituality’.

Bob Fraser, the Getting it Right for Every Child health adviser in the Scottish Government’s Better Life Chances unit, explained his latest thinking at a conference of childcare workers.

He argued it was about all children and not just “the usual suspects” who are already known to social services.

He said: “Every child deserves to have positive well-being. We have had suggestions of different indicators, of love, hope and spirituality. I am not wedded. The Act is there at the moment. But in a few years, if people feel it is right, they should change that.”

A spokesman for NO2NP said: “This is a dark, deeply worrying and insidious development. Apparently the named person will police family life according to some ever-shifting ‘happiness index’. It’s an impossible standard for parents to measure up to.”

Liz Smith MSP, a vocal opponent of the plans, said: “This is exactly the sort of nonsense which critics of the named person scheme feared would happen.

“Parents will be horrified at the suggestion of being targeted because a state guardian doesn’t regard their home as sufficiently spiritual.”

Sources:
Scottish Daily Express, 01 June 2015

Scottish Daily Mail, 31 May 2015

Petition officially launches on first NO2NP Action Day

On Saturday NO2NP officially launched its online petition to oppose the Scottish Government’s Named Person scheme. Volunteers took to the streets of Dundee to help raise awareness of the campaign by giving out leaflets to the public and gathering signatures for the petition.

A team of volunteers were also out in Kirkintilloch, the constituency of the Minister for Children and Young People.

The petition doubled in size over the launch weekend, and now has more than 4,500 signatures. Sign and share the petition here.

NO2NP Roadshow speakers Dr Stuart Waiton, a sociologist and lecturer at Abertay University, and Lesley Scott, from Tymes Trust, joined volunteers at the Dundee Action Day.

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The Action Day and petition launch comes ahead of the appeal hearing by campaigners opposing the Named Person scheme, due to be heard in the Court of Session this Wednesday and Thursday.

A spokesman for NO2NP said: “We remain deeply concerned about the threats to the human rights of families to their privacy in their own homes as well as the breaches of data protection laws as the state passes confidential family information to and from different public bodies.

“The state thinks the named person – a health visitor, a teacher or other professional – can fulfil the role better than mums and dads which is ridiculous.

“It’s vitally important that the higher courts consider this issue, because it’s driving a coach and horses through parents’ rights and private family life.”

NO2NP Action Day: Dundee and Kirkintilloch, Saturday 30th May.

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Kirkintilloch petitioners

Kirkintilloch volunteers

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NO2NP Roadshow: Falkirk highlights

Falkirk was the latest stop for the NO2NP Roadshow last night, when local supporters of the campaign were given the lowdown on the state guardian scheme.

Dr Stuart Waiton from Abertay University explained some of the key developments in social policy over the last 15 years in relation to child welfare. The concepts of abuse, vulnerability and early intervention have become deeply embedded in the minds of many strategists and there is a feeling that parents cannot advise their children properly without first receiving advice from professionals. This is known as “third way parenting”.

Lesley Scott, from TYMES Trust, pointed out that contrary to the contentions of Acting Minister for Children and Young People, Fiona McLeod, parents across the country did not ask for the Named Person scheme. Lesley went on to explain how the Scottish Government’s pilot of the scheme in the Highlands led to nearly 8,000 children (1 in 5) being put on a “child’s plan”.

During a lively Q&A session it was asked if teachers could opt out of being Named Persons. This was a very significant change in the terms and conditions of their employment, yet some of the teaching unions have yet to indicate their detailed views on this matter.

The Roadshow will be calling at the Elmwood Golf Club, Cupar at 7.30pm on Tuesday next week, when MSP Liz Smith hopes to be one of the speakers – do plan to join us, if you live in the area!

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Lesley Scott

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LS - My world triangle

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Dr Stuart Waiton TESS article: “Up close and personal”

Dr Stuart Waiton, a prominent opponent of the Named Person scheme, has voiced his concerns in an article in TES Scotland published on 22 May. With Dr Waiton’s permission, we have reproduced the article in full below.

“A RECENT blog could be a sign of things to come as the Scottish government’s ‘named person’ legislation kicks in.

The posting, written by an irate mother of a 13-year-old in Aberdeen, complains about a nurse- not the usual school nurse- having a ‘little chat’ her daughter.

The questions the girl was asked included, ‘Have you started your menstrual period?’, ‘Do you feel loved and cared for?’ and ‘Do you feel safe and secure in your home?’

The questions continued, probing about the pupil’s relationship with her mother. The child began to feel uncomfortable. When the mother found out, she was ‘absolutely RAGING’.

The interview was part of the named person project, a system whereby every child in Scotland will be given a named guardian to oversee their safety and wellbeing – an initiative that could transform the relationships between schools and parents.

A key problem with the named person set-up is that teachers will now be responsible – and trained to be responsible – for the ‘wellbeing’ of every child.

This may sound fair enough, but the breadth of meaning the term well-being can encompass suggests that the roles of parent and teacher will be confused. So, for example, everything from how respected a child is by their carers to how much responsibility they are given by them could become a matter of concern and intervention.

Given the emphasis placed on being aware of ‘risks’ and the potential anxiety about not flagging up a problem early enough, the likely trend is for more and more children to be investigated and put on a children’s plan.

When defending the named person legislation, first minister Nicola Sturgeon and others argue that this is about protecting the most vulnerable children, but this is disingenuous. This is a universal service that is trying to prevent problems occurring in the future, and doing so by massively increasing the basis upon which teachers’ concerns and suspicions trigger action. Consequently, all sorts of emotional or personal issues that would previously have been seen as aspects of growing up, or as issues for the family, will become a legally enforced matter for the named person – for teachers.

Teaching unions have said little about this subject so far – a surprising state of affairs given the seriousness of this development and the pressures that will be placed on senior staff in particular to take on this new role.

Worryingly, as parents find out about the named person system, it is likely that some will begin to treat teachers with suspicion and fear, nervous about sharing personal information with them or discussing difficulties their children are having at home.”

Dr Stuart Waiton is a senior lecturer in sociology and criminology at Abertay University.

Should parents be referred to Named Person over safe dose of cough syrup?

A mother has been warned by medical staff that she could have been referred to a Named Person for giving her son what was deemed a safe dose of cough medicine.

In a letter to The Scotsman she said even though paediatric nurses told her that her son was fine, and the dose was well within limit, she was warned, “never, ever do this again. We would have had to refer you for investigation under the new Named Person laws”.

She wrote to the newspaper to express her concern about the scheme.

She explained: “When I was ill as child my mother halved aspirins and mashed them with honey, and doled out quarter-spoons of adult cough syrup. She took pains with medicine. We all survived.

“Some weeks back, I did the same. At 2am, I’d given my toddler a quarter-measure of adult cough syrup (I’d run out of baby syrup). Immediately, I regretted it, panicked and drove my son to A&E at the Borders General Hospital in Melrose, fearing a paracetamol overdose.

“’He’s fine’, the paediatric nurses told me. ‘The dose was well within limit.’ But, they said, never, ever do this again. ‘We would have had to refer you for investigation under the new Named Person laws,’ they warned me, carefully”.

She said: “The idea I might now ‘face investigation’ or scrutiny over a safe dose of cough syrup? It horrifies me. Parents must be made aware of what the Named Person policy means. It means state surveillance of us as parents.

“Parents, not the state, are best placed to bring up their children”, she concluded.

Letter to The Scotsman submitted by: C Sharwood-Smith, Kirk Yetholm

Social workers voice opposition to Named Person

The Scottish Association of Social Workers (SASW) has said it remains “unconvinced that the named person provision will make the difference intended”.

Trisha Hall, SASW manager, raised concerns about the cost of the Named Person scheme, particularly at a time when social work resources are already stretched.

She also said social workers were worried about lowering the threshold for intervening in a child’s life. Hall said: “We are concerned about what we perceive as an escalation; we are effectively raising the threshold from “significant harm” to “concerns about welfare”.

The SASW made the comments in response to a recent consultation on statutory guidance to accompany the Named Person scheme.

Source: Herald Scotland

NO2NP Roadshow starts next week

Following the successful launch of the NO2NP campaign at a packed meeting in Edinburgh in June, we are delighted to announce a series of regional road show events over the coming weeks. The dates are:

GLASGOW – Thursday 21 August

DUNDEE – Wednesday 27 August

STIRLING – Friday 29 August

INVERNESS – Wednesday 1 October

Events will feature contributions from a range of experts such as Dr Stuart Waiton (Abertay University), Maggie Mellon (social work consultant/writer), Liz Smith MSP and Dr Jenny Cunningham (Community paediatrician). All events will include a time of discussion where attendees can put their questions to the speakers.

Entry is free and the events are open to all. Please come along to one or more of the dates and spread the word.

Full details of times and venues are available here.

Named Person scheme tells kids ‘mums and dads are not to be trusted’

The Named Person plans could be “corrosive” to relationships between parents and children, warns sociologist and columnist Tiffany Jenkins.

Writing in The Scotsman, she said: “It is a scheme that communicates to children that their mums and dads are not to be trusted, that a different adult – one with a professional qualification – is better equipped to look out for them than their own family members.

“This greatly undermines the role and place of the parents in a child’s life. What could be more corrosive to relations than that?”

Jenkins believes: “Child protection has gone too far and is changing all our lives for the worse”.

“When it comes to children, we no longer weigh up the likelihood of a negative outcome and act accordingly, we organise every aspect of our lives around the expectation that the worst will happen. Our nightmares dictate how we live”, she asserted.

She commented that children are “innocent, ignorant, and vulnerable, though not as much as child protection zealots would have us think: children can be strong, robust and agents of their own lives in a small but important way”.

“Children need to be able to spread their wings and have the space to try life out”, she added. “And they need adults – and especially their parents – to hold the authority to take care of them, check they are doing okay, and guide them as they grow.

“At the moment, too many laws, policies and child protection agencies stand in the way of this. It is time for the child protection industry to butt out of our lives.”

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

NAMED PERSON LEGAL CHALLENGE LAUNCHED

The legal challenge to stop the Scottish Government appointing a ‘state guardian’ for every child in the country up to the age of 18 was launched today.

Legal papers formally challenging Holyrood’s controversial Named Person plans were lodged at Edinburgh’s Court of Session this morning.

There was widespread interest as national news networks such as the BBC, STV, The Scotsman and The Herald, plus a host of other local networks, gathered outside the court to watch the crowd of concerned parents and other groups hand in the documents.




 

 

 

 

NO2NP is backing the legal action which asserts that the Scottish Government is acting illegally and exceeding its powers by setting up the Named Person scheme.

The campaign has a wide range of supporters, including academics, medical experts, social services professionals and many concerned parents.

Watch their stories here

Critics of the scheme, which is contained within the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, say it contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights.

Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, which is one of the petitioners in the case, said: “This marks the beginning of a landmark case which has implications for every family in Scotland. We are making a stand for all mums and dads who are doing their best for the children they love.

“We are not prepared to stand by and watch as the roles of parents and their rights to a family life are diminished and trampled over by an authoritarian big brother government intent on making its presence felt in every living room in the land.”

NO2NP will be staging a series of public meetings across Scotland as support for the campaign spreads. Events will take place in Glasgow, Dundee, Stirling and Inverness, with more expected.

The court case is being funded by more than 70 different sources. The court papers were lodged by The Christian Institute, the Christian charity CARE (Christian Action Research and Education), The Young ME Sufferers (Tymes) Trust, and the Family Education Trust.

They have been joined in the case by parents James and Rhianwen McIntosh from Bonnybridge and Deborah Thomas from Comrie.

Sunday Express: Big Brother becomes a surrogate mum and dad

Scottish Sunday Express comment 22 June 2014

By Paula Murray

THE Scottish Government has earmarked £40million to hire an extra 500 health visitors over the next four years. They will be there, according to ministers, to offer support and advice to families with young children.

It all sounds rather sweet. But when you consider this is all to do with the scheme to appoint “state guardians” to the country’s youngsters, the development begins to appear a little sinister.

Of course, there are people who are simply no good at bringing up their children, and it is for this reason that these measures are being taken.

But the vast majority of parents are responsible mothers and fathers who want nothing but the best for their children. The idea that the state should appoint an additional pair of eyes to monitor a child’s wellbeing has echoes of China, the Soviet Union and East Germany where everybody snooped on everyone else to ensure the communist values imposed on the nation were duly appreciated and followed.

Although I am childless, I feel uneasy about the idea that an outsider – whether a teacher, health visitor or someone else – is appointed as a child’s “extra parent”.

What if there is a fall-out between the state guardian and the child’s family? What if there is a disagreement as to what is best for the youngster? Who gets the final word? The state?

Would it not be the easiest thing for the appointed individual to make the parents’ lives hell should they so choose to do so?

Social workers and health professionals are equipped – or at least they should be – to deal with any problem cases and step in if necessary.

I don’t for a moment believe that these Big Brother plans will actually benefit anyone. If anything, they will end up interfering with the rights of both parents and children.

There is no way to opt out from the “named person” scheme, or to ask for somebody else to be appointed for your child – they will simply be there every step of the way until the child reaches the age of 18.

So in other words, a teenager can get married, leave school, get a job and start paying taxes, drive a car, join the armed forces or even have children their own, and their state guardian will still be peering over their shoulder.

I simply cannot fathom what good it will do. It is legalised spying on family life and I don’t like the sound of it. Various charities and organisations agree echoes the with me.

Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) believes the state guardians will “undermine parental freedom and responsibility”.

The Law Society in Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates have warned the measures could breach European Human Rights law on privacy and family life.

But despite these concerns our ministers have ploughed ahead with the plans, with Holyrood approving the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill back in February.

Liz Smith of the Scottish Conservatives says the legislation effectively removes the parents’ primary obligation of looking after their children and gives it to the state. She is right.

And here is the big question – if the state snooping starts at birth, where does it end? Because it is not going to be on your 18th birthday.

‘It has echoes of China, the Soviet Union and East Germany’

Sunday 22 June 2014

SNP invests £40 million in new state snoopers

500 new health visitors will be recruited to deliver the Scottish Government’s controversial ‘Named Person’ plans, Health Secretary Alex Neil has announced.

The recruitment will be implemented over the next four years costing the taxpayer more than £40 million.

“The creation of jobs is usually to be welcomed but this is nothing more than an investment in state-sponsored social engineering” said a NO2NP spokesman.

The Named Person plans were passed earlier this year and it is expected that head teachers and health visitors will take on the role of the new state-appointed guardians when the scheme is implemented in 2016.

The NO2NP spokesman said: “The Royal College of Nursing warned earlier this year they needed at least 450 more health visitors to come close to making this scheme work for those children under five years old.

“But this law requires every child under 18 in the country – and there are more than 1 million – to have an individual named person.

“How many extra teachers are they going to have to provide as state guardians to act as government snoopers for children of school age and at what cost to the public purse?”

A Judicial Review will be launched shortly to fight the plans, alleging that MSPs exceeded their powers by setting up the scheme because it breaches the European Convention on Human Rights.

Round Up of Media Coverage of Named Person Plans

The Named Person plans have been widely criticised by politicians, parents, academics, journalists, faith groups and those working in education. Here is a media round up showing the strong opposition to this proposal.

Scottish children don’t need these government spies
The Guardian

Guardian angels … or Big Brother?
Herald Scotland

Warning over spiralling cost of state guardian scheme
Scottish Daily Express

State spies already snoop on thousands of families
Scottish Sunday Express

Guardian bill set to face legal hurdles
The Press and Journal

Fresh opposition to child guardians plan
Herald Scotland

Conservatives warn over child state guardian plans
The Scotsman

‘Named person’ is not needed
Herald Scotland

‘Named person’ plan faces legal challenge – Tories
The Scotsman

Euan McColm: Stop meddling with parents’ children
The Scotsman

Concerns raised over named person for Scots children plan
BBC News

Scottish ministers threatened with legal action over ‘state guardian’ plans
The Daily Telegraph

‘Named guardian’ plan for every child in Scotland set to go ahead
STV News

Lawyers slam ‘insidious’ plans to give every child a named person
STV News

SNP bill to spy on parents is criticised by families
Scottish Daily Express

Challenge to child protection bill
The Press and Journal

Parties launch final bid to stop SNP imposing a snooper on every family
Scottish Daily Mail

Poll shows only 20pc back child guardians (1 of 2)
Poll shows only 20pc back child guardians (2 of 2)

Scottish Daily Mail

NO2NP: The Campaign Against State Appointed Named Persons For Every Scottish Child Aged Under 18

MSPs have approved the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act.

They believe it will make children safer.

But the legislation means that EVERY child in Scotland – more than ONE MILLION – will each have a named professional appointed as a ‘guardian’ by the state – without the approval of their parents.

This person will oversee their interests and can intervene without the knowledge or consent of their parents. But many oppose the plan and the growing campaign against state guardians includes:

*parents concerned about their rights and privacy

*Christians who fear that their faith and beliefs will act as a trigger for state intervention

*MSPs and academics who believe that the safety of at risk children will be jeapordised by stretching resources so far.

The blanket nature of this law degrades the integrity of the family and diminishes the work of the vast majority of parents. It encourages suspicion among professionals about the dangers parents represent to their children.

Until now, families could be investigated if a child was at ‘significant risk of harm’.

Now that has changed – the definition for intervention has been dramatically lowered from ‘welfare’ to ‘wellbeing’.

It now embraces concerns about happiness, mental health, quality of life, economic status, health, educational achievement, levels of respect for the child and others.

These catch-all terms pose potential dangers allowing many more children facing minor difficulties to come on to the radar of state guardians – like health workers, nursery workers and teachers.

This threatens family life and the right of families to privacy by allowing the state unbridled access to every living room in the land.

The law also poses a threat to relationships between parents and professionals, and leads to unnecessary and destructive interventions.

And the few children at genuine risk of harm?

They may find themselves ignored along the way.

This legislation undermines parents and parental authority. It implies parents are a potential threat to their children. Further, there are major concerns about the ability of state guardians being allowed access to data from many sources, without the consent of parents.

The vast majority of parents want nothing more than what is best for their children.

They are the best defenders of their own children and do not need state appointed guardians or monitors.

They want nothing to do with the new system.

That’s why so many are saying “NO2NP”.

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