Friday, 21 October 2016

Raising concerns: is it going to be enough ?

I wrote to Deputy First Minister John Swinney in September to express my concerns about the Named Person scheme and his consultation, described as an intensive engagement, which seemed to be for selected stakeholders only.

I asked for a non-generic response and this is what I got: "John Swinney has asked me to thank you for your email to his MSP account. It has been passed to his ministerial office for attention."

That was a month ago. I can`t say that I feel engaged with at all really. It`s particularly worrying given the NHS Tayside leaflet fiasco which does raise the alarm about what other unlawful practices are going on under the radar.

From the Courier:

`Named Person` debate far from over

"When the Supreme Court sent the Scottish Government back to think again on its Named Person legislation, blinkered and sometimes hysterical rhetoric was swift to be blurted out both by those who oppose the scheme and those who are in favour of it."

"It is worth remembering exactly what the most senior UK judges ruled on an act they deemed to be `unquestionably legitimate and benign` overall."

"It was decided to be incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights in relation to family life and privacy because of its information-sharing provisions. This is crucial to NHS Tayside`s decision to withdraw a leaflet informing patients data about them could be shared with other public bodies."

"The health board will now `carefully reconsider` its data sharing procedures as it looks to stay within the law whilst still able to inform relevant agencies if they feel there is a risk to a child`s wellbeing."

"If one public body is required to do this, it is more than likely others should be following suit."

"The Scottish Government has insisted the Supreme Court judgment `does not relate to current practice in relation to information sharing`."

"It had best keep its fingers crossed because NHS Tayside`s move casts doubt over this statement."

"The key aim of the Named Person law was to protect children*.  Its devil is now being pulled from the detail."


* This is misleading: Scotland already has a child protection system, now under review; so there is plenty to be worried about.

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