Keeping you up to date on the progress of the Named Person scheme and the NO2NP campaign.
The UK Supreme Court has announced it will hand down its Named Person judgment on Thursday 28 July at 9:45am.
The judgment in the case, which is listed as “(1) The Christian Institute and others (Appellants) v The Lord Advocate (Respondent) (Scotland)”, will be streamed live on the Supreme Court website.
The fight to oppose the Scottish Government’s Named Person legislation continued to the UK Supreme Court after judges in Scotland’s highest court ruled last year that the legislation did not conflict with human rights or data protection laws.
A two-day hearing involving five judges took place in the Supreme Court on the 8th and 9th March.
The lauded Highland Pathfinder pilot of the Scottish Government’s controversial Named Person scheme has been the subject of much criticism in recent days within the Highland region itself, so it was going to be interesting to see what those who live and work in the region’s second largest settlement thought about it.
Almost immediately, the team found people who worked in the public sector – teachers, social workers, care workers – who were all against the scheme, described this week by the region’s Deputy Council leader as “intrusive nonsense”. The team were given similar responses by the general public, with one man describing it as “sinister” and another saying: “They’ve got to decide whether they’re going to let parents be parents”.
One couple had decided to move from the city to the beautiful Highland town because they wanted to raise their children in the peace and quiet of a rural community. But they were very much against the idea of their children having a state guardian, who would constantly be scrutinising their parenting skills and noting down any failings.
One lady took a bunch of flyers to distribute around her own rural community which was great! If you’d like to help get the message out in your community, please get in touch with us at email@example.com
The team will be joined by some locals in Stornoway town centre this Saturday afternoon. If you live in Lewis, come and join them.
The weather was a bit ‘dreich’ on Saturday morning in Peterhead, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the volunteers who turned up to hand out flyers in the town centre. Thanks to all of them for coming along!
As with other parts of the country, the team found that many people are still completely unaware of the scheme. That just goes to show how important these Action Days are!
Time and time again, people could not believe that, come 31st August, every single child and young person in Scotland will have a state-appointed ‘Named Person’ responsible for their wellbeing. Reactions like “You’ve GOT to be joking!” were common, while one gentleman said: “My grandchildren have got parents, two sets of grandparents and aunts and uncles – there’s absolutely no need for a Named Person!” We think so too.
An entire family were happy to be photographed. Auntie had already signed the petition, but Mum, Dad and Gran were all happy to sign there and then. Thanks for your support folks!
A number of locals expressed their appreciation for what we were doing, for which the team were very grateful.
The NO2NP team are heading to the other side of the country this week, where they will host a roadshow event in Fort William on Thursday afternoon, with an Action Day in the town centre on Friday morning. If you live in the area, please come to one or both these events!
Following the successful roadshow event in the town last week, a team of local NO2NP-ers were out on Saturday morning to let people know about the dangers of the Named Person scheme.
Before the team had even set out, they encountered people around them who were opposed to the intrusive scheme. A GP who was visiting the town with her family, told them that when she tried to refer one of her child patients to CAMHS, she was told there had to be a case conference meeting with the Named Person first. Inevitably this delayed help for the child and usurped the GP’s professional judgment.
Out on the streets the team discovered that many people were unaware of the Government’s universal state guardian scheme for all children and young people under 18. There were some memorable quotes:-
“They’re doing away with the need for parents at all – it’s like Brave New World!”
“This won’t make things any better – they need to be focussing on the vulnerable children instead.”
“It’s just not right. People need to fight this.”
“Come on, how are teachers going to find the time to do this when they are off with stress and our kids are taught by supply teachers half the time?”
One man came out of work especially to sign the petition, while others regularly approached the team for flyers.
Several people signed the petition – in fact, only one person all day appeared to be in favour of the scheme and even he agreed it shouldn’t be compulsory.
So the message was clear: Crieff says “No to Named Persons!”
Our next Action Day is in Peterhead this Saturday, 11 June. If you live in the area, why not join us? If you’d like to do so or if you’d like to help the campaign generally, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This month’s Holyrood magazine discusses the Named Person scheme, asking if Scotland is “any closer to becoming the best place for children to grow up”.
Answers on a postcard please…
Maggie Mellon, Vice Chair of the British Association of Social Workers and a supporter of NO2NP, was interviewed for the piece. Commenting on the Named Person scheme she said: “If the government was sensible, they would announce a delay in the implementation and just let it die off”.
The scheme is due to be implemented across Scotland next year despite serious questions about how it will operate.
The Holyrood article said Mellon “deems there to be no evidence to support the measure. It added that she believes the threshold for intervention is “lowered significantly” and that the legislation itself clashes with what proponents of the provision declare its intent to be”.
Mellon, who is also a former chair of the Scottish Child Law Centre, debated the Named Person scheme one-on-one with Jackie Brock, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, at the organisation’s annual conference.
Watch Maggie Mellon speak at the launch of NO2NP last year where she asserted that “families are best for children, not services”. She says the state “makes a lousy parent” and warns that family is currently the biggest element missing from national policy.
The Scottish Government has been accused of living in “cloud cuckoo land” after publishing a bizarre series of graphics in an attempt to show how the Named Person scheme will work.
Official guidance on the scheme includes oddly-named diagrams such as the ‘Wellbeing Wheel’, the ‘My World Triangle’ and the ‘Resilience Matrix’, designed to be used by state officials to assess children up to the age of 18.
The diagrams form part of a so-called ‘National Practice Model’, which is supposed to help teachers and health workers understand how to implement the scheme, but critics say it is littered with jargon.
A NO2NP spokesman said: “Most ordinary mums and dads will only need to take the briefest of glances at these diagrams to realise that the people behind this scheme are living in cloud cuckoo land and remote from the reality of what is actually involved in looking after, bringing up and nurturing children. It confirms our fears that we are not far from being dictated to by a government not too distant from the type portrayed by George Orwell in the nightmare vision of his ‘Big Brother’ world.”
Central to the scheme is the ‘Wellbeing Wheel’ which is to be used to examine eight key aspects of every child’s life known as the “SHANARRI” indicators – Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible, Included.
Changes to ‘improve’ the child or young person’s wellbeing are then decided based on the results of the wheel. Once the data has been recorded then officials can bring other diagrams and graphics into play.
The My World Triangle is a graphic containing a series of clouds filled with key phrases and words designed to help gather further information about the needs of the child.
This may include information about health or learning, offending behaviour or information about issues affecting parenting.
The next diagram contains the peculiar Resilience Matrix graphic which is used to collect even more data about a young person and is supposed to help practitioners organise and analyse information. But in its own guidelines, the Scottish Government admits problems with the Resilience Matrix and states “its use within the National Practice Model has been the most difficult to understand”.
The NO2NP spokesman said: “The official guidance on the scheme runs to 109 pages and fully illustrates the extent of interference the state will have on family life. We have had experts examine the fine detail and remain confused and bemused as to how it will work in practice. Imagine how a hard-working health worker or teacher with massive conflicting demands on their time is going to struggle to cope with such crucially important matters impacting on children and their parents.”