Keeping you up to date on the progress of the Named Person scheme and the NO2NP campaign.
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!
There was a great turnout at the Waterside Hotel, Peterhead on Monday night, as the NO2NP team rolled up to ‘The Blue Toon’ for their latest roadshow event.
We were delighted to welcome back a senior academic to share his own troubling experience of the highly invasive Named Person scheme.
The speaker, who wishes to remain anonymous, has undertaken academic research on the workings of the former USSR and he said it was “petrifying” to see the similarities between that and the Named Person scheme.
He explained how at a review meeting for his youngest child, the health visitor had mentioned in passing that they had a note that his son was depressed. She said this “must have been a mistake” in the “family record”, because the youngster was really happy. When he pressed her on what this family record was, he was told there were “daily notes”, which he found odd, as he had only met this health visitor twice. He discovered that the document was used to gather hearsay.
It took some persistence before he was finally allowed to see the record and to his alarm, he found it was a heavily redacted 60-page document. He was told the parts that had been scored out were “3rd party information”, i.e. people’s opinions about his family situation.
The authorities were clearly trying to make a case to intervene in his family with such routine issues as a blister on his child’s upper lip, nasal discharge and a nappy rash. The record will remain until his boys are 26.
“It’s very worrisome that interested and engaged parents have no way of finding out what’s happening to their families in terms of surveillance”.
He believes many health visitors don’t always want to be Named Persons, but have to in order to protect themselves and their jobs. He said he has huge respect for health professionals, but feels their time would be better spent on other things.
Despite all this, in an upbeat conclusion he said he has “great hopes” for the Supreme Court ruling and for local people standing up against this legislation.
Lesley Scott from TYMES Trust then took everyone through some of the tools used by practitioners for gathering information, including:
- Parental capacity to provide well-being assessment: a pre-birth assessment tool used by midwives to record the prospective parents’ capacity to provide their unborn child’s right to be safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included.
- On the trail with the Wellbeing Snail: a board game for primary-aged children to teach them what the state’s concept of ‘good wellbeing’ looks like. The cards include such statements as “You told the teacher that you were sad because your friend was unkind to you, Go forward 2 spaces” and “You didn’t join the new after school fencing club, Go back 2 spaces.”
Lesley went on to highlight the uncomfortable fact that a wellbeing worry can be raised by anyone. Highland Council, who have run a pilot of the Named Person since 2007, illustrate this point by saying: “Concerns may be identified by the child or their family, by someone in the community, by the Named Person, or by a practitioner or clinician in ANY organisation, including adult focussed services and the police.”
Once that concern is raised the Named Person has a legal duty to then act to assess that child’s wellbeing needs.
She said there were more than 200 “risk indicators” which practitioners need to keep in mind, but they are told that “whilst comprehensive they do not seek to be exhaustive”. They include:
- Being under 5 years old
- Illness within the extended family
- Experience of bereavement, e.g. a pet
- Parental resistance or limited engagement
- The parent having a different perception of the problem
Lesley finished with the Grampian Practitioner’s Guide to Information Sharing, Confidentiality and Consent to Support Children and Young People’s Wellbeing’.
This states that the sharing of confidential information is lawful where disclosure is in the public interest; it then defines public interest as ‘protecting wellbeing’.
It also emphasises to practitioners that “Data protection does not prevent the sharing of information” and that they should “Record, record, record!” Is it any wonder that runny noses need 60-odd pages of ‘family record’ write-up?
Nigel Kenny of The Christian Institute then gave an update on the judicial review at the Supreme Court, before suggesting some practical ways in which people could get involved with the campaign.
At the end a record number of people signed up to be volunteers! Some of them will be in Peterhead’s town centre tomorrow for our latest Action Day, so if you’re around do come and speak to them.
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.