Tuesday, 14 March 2017

John Swinney: setting the record straight on information sharing

At the start of the programme, CEO of Barnardo`s, Martin Crewe, is not sure where the view that the Named Person is going to involve mass information sharing comes from.

Later on, he states that if necessary the Named Person will have access to appropriate records.

It is strange that he does not seem able to connect these two ideas.


After the three month intense engagement, mentioned in the STV programme, John Swinney had this to say:
"The government listened to parents. The Named Person service provides a point of contact and support who works in partnership with parents and families to help them to navigate the wider system. Parents told us that they do not always get the support that their families need so they have to tell their stories over and over again. Parents also told us they want the Named Person service to work in partnership with them and that having a say in the sharing of information about their family, matters to them."
I would like to know which parents John Swinney has been engaging with because this sounds like parents with children who have special needs. Most parents do not require support to navigate the wider system. Having a say in information sharing should not come into it, but certainly should never be done without consent. For most children, there is nothing to share.
"Their views and experience reinforce the initial rationale for creating the Named Person service."
No. What is reinforced is the requirement for services for children with special needs so that parents do not have to go round in circles trying to get the services. But John Swinney would rather set up a Named Person scheme for all children when most children and their families have no need of it.
"The Government listened to practitioners. As with families, nursing and medical organisations and trade unions told us that information sharing that is rooted in consent, engagement and empowerment of families was the best way forward."

It is unbelievable that the government needed to be told that information sharing should be rooted in consent.
"Only in exceptional circumstances, such as where the risk of harm is present, should we consider departing from those core principles."

Exactly. This is why the Supreme Court made the judgment that the Children and Young People Act was unlawful - the very thing that the Scottish government was trying to get away with. John Swinney has a brass neck reading from this script.
"Practitioners highlighted the point that professional judgment and discretion remains vital in working with families to decide whether, when and with whom information should be shared. "
Information should only be shared in exceptional circumstances. End of.
"The Care Inspectorate highlighted to us that sharing of relevant and proportionate information in relation to the wellbeing of children had improved as organisations prepared for the implementation of the Named Person service."
Well the Care Inspectorate should know better, otherwise we need to start questioning what they are doing during their inspections.
"Joint inspections of services for children and young people in 2014 to 2016 showed that most community partnership areas had developed mechanisms for sharing information about individual children with relevant services, while working within the requirements of data protection legislation and duties of confidentiality..."
What a lie.
"We must provide consistency, coherence and confidence in the approach to sharing information below the threshold of risk of significant harm where the Named person`s role is so important in supporting families to get assistance when they need it."
No. We must get rid of those mechanisms that have been put in place for sharing information. As long as they are there the data sharing abuses will continue.

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