Kenneth Roy lifts lid on new child wellbeing surveys

Kenneth Roy, ex-BBC journalist and editor of Scottish Review, has lifted the lid on a worrying new child wellbeing survey doing the rounds in several local authorities, including Dundee City. In an explosive piece in Scottish Review entitled ‘We are sleepwalking into an authoritarian Scotland’, Roy draws the link between these surveys and the wider named person scheme. He writes:

“Parents in Dundee (as well as Angus and North Ayrshire) are being assured in an official letter that the questionnaire is part of an ‘exciting’ collaboration – everything has to be exciting these days – between the Scottish Government and ‘your local council’. Who could resist such an offer?…If, however, you are one of those pesky people in Dundee who don’t approve of your children confiding intimate details of their private lives, it won’t be all that simple to opt out.

“The letter goes on to explain that the information gathered in the ‘ChildrenCount Survey’ – note the exciting collaboration between two unrelated words – will be used to enable the authorities, national and local, to better plan public services. Sounds familiar? If you were a regular reader of this magazine last winter, you will remember our long campaign opposing ‘Evidence2Success’, a questionnaire circulated to children in Perth and Kinross schools…’Evidence2Sucess’ – a concept tainted by all the bad publicity…seems to have disappeared as a brand, but only to be replaced by ‘ChildrenCount’. From next Monday, children will be counting all over Dundee.

“This is not some innocuous local initiative. After the pilot in Perth and Kinross, it feels like the next stage in a grand plan: the creation of a massive national database backing up the present administration’s intention to have a ‘Named Person’ for every child in Scotland. The named persons will be public officials. They will assume the role of advisors and guides to our children, though only in office hours and not on bank holidays. The named persons will also require to have what is called ‘annual leave’. No doubt, however, the paperwork spewing out of ChildrenCount surveys will be their beach reading. In this intriguing new Scotland, where European directives are lightly ignored in the interests of contentment, the only people who will be explicitly forbidden from being named persons are the child’s own parents.”