Wednesday, 3 June 2015

The Disabling State

Subrosa`s latest blog post has a wealth of information about the named person scheme in Scotland which is worth exploring.

For instance, at a recent meeting in Glasgow, Lesley Scott from the Tymes Trust, an organisation which helps sufferers of ME and their families, talked the audience through the various tools that professionals will use to gather data about children.

  • The wellbeing wheel with its 8 SHANARRI indicators: safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible, included which Edinburgh University broke down into 304 outcome signifiers. (A check list for wellbeing)
  • The My World Triangle - a tool for gathering information about a child and its wider family: how they are growing and developing.
  • The Resilience Vulnerability Matrix: a tool for organising and analysing wellbeing
  • 22 risk indicators:  such as child under five, illness within family, bereavement, parental resistance, child unwilling to disclose information, parent having a different perception of the problem.
  • Genogram: a pictorial representation of a child and its family network
  • Chronology: both simple and complex. A timeline of recorded events.
  • Eco map: a diagram showing child, family and social relationships.
  • Cycle of change: a plot of parents` engagement

All of this reveals the effort that has gone into bureaucracy to create the means of gathering as much information as possible from children and their families -  in the name of children`s wellbeing. As well as the privacy concerns there are issues of state control.

Lesley Scott pointed out that the guidance on measuring outcomes that link to the healthy wellbeing indicator is that the child and young person, parents and carers are compliant with treatment for any illnesses, diseases, chronic conditions and impairments.

It is important to stop here in order to absorb that information. Named Persons and other professionals are being guided that children and families are COMPLIANT with any proposed treatment for ANYTHING.

As if all of that was not frightening enough, David Scott in conversation with Brian Gerrish argued that the named person scheme is merely one small part of the transformational change being planned in Scotland.

The enabling state, the Scottish model of government, was masterminded by John Elvidge and has been in place since 2007. According to David Scott, John Elvidge believes that the welfare state has been a failure and does not serve the 20 to 30 percent at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Using that as his justification, Sir John Elvidge is quoted as saying:

"In partnership between Civil Service and political leadership, a radical Scottish model of Government has developed since 2007, building on the learning from the earlier period of devolution. It is based on the effort to have government function as a single organisation, working towards a single defined government purpose based on outcomes, and establishing a partnership based on that purpose with the rest of the public sector which is capable of being joined by other parts of civil society."

What I can say about Changing the World: an approach to
Public Services: Improvement in Scotland, where the quote comes from, is that there is hardly anything in the document that cannot be related to the joined up working that is happening in Scottish education today. In fact, it is even more apparent that children are being prepared in school for their planned future by unelected bodies and think tanks.

The enabling state is a woolly concept, difficult to pin down, according to David Scott but its core hypothesis is that maximum control of our own lives is important but must co-exist with the role of the state. It requires a redefinition of the relationship between the individual and the state but it will be those in unelected think tanks like the Carnegie Trust and secretive organisations like Common Purpose who will drive the policy on behalf of the public/private partnerships at the top of the hierarchy. [Admittedly, I have condensed the conversation here.]

Although Scotland is ahead of the game the same vision extends to other parts of the United Kingdom and further afield.

Where I find issue with David Scott`s analysis - and I may well  be wrong -  is his idea that David Elvidge believes that the welfare state has been a failure. On the contrary he is quoted as saying:
Most of us have benefited enormously from the models of the welfare state that emerged after 1945 and are much healthier, wealthier and better educated as a result. Even pre-2007 however, outcomes for a significant minority in the UK and Ireland and indeed across Europe were failing to improve.
He is talking about failing to improve which is not quite the same thing as failing.

Sir John Elvidge goes on to say:
It’s about that moment of realization that the long, and often positive, pathway of ever-growing state services might have overreached itself. 

What John Elvidge wants is to shrink the welfare state which seems to be the same thing David Scott wants. This is where I believe that Brian Gerrish has more of a handle on the issue. What David Elvidge and his ``behind the scenes compatriots` are talking about is not promoting an expanded welfare state, but communitarianism - a completely different animal. [The ultimate public/private partnership: i.e. Fascism]

Having said that,  it is great to see minds working together to analyse issues. But I have to ask why has there been no discussion in the media about these important issues other than -  rat-a-tat - ten minute sound bites?

See Subrosa`s post and the UK Column video to learn more


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