Thursday 2 July 2015

Getting it right some day

I did not like the tone of the Leader article in the Scottish Herald, Wednesday 1 July 2015, which claimed to have consistently supported the Named Person for every child policy.

It begins by making the point: "Opposition to the plans was driven by an alliance of right-wing tabloid newspapers and self-proclaimed `pro-family` pressure groups."

Actually, opposition cuts across the political spectrum because it is not a left/right issue nor is it about YES/NO in regard to Scottish independence; it is about human rights which by their nature are for everyone. At least the Herald conceded that point.

Dragging out the tired old argument that social workers are damned when they do and damned when they don`t but right wing newspapers will damn them anyway, is relevant to the debate, but not in the way it was implied. The Herald does not have the moral high ground. The Named Person may feed information to social workers, but it is social workers who will still have to make the same kind of decisions they always have. They will get it wrong sometimes. With a lower threshold of concern, the chances are they are going to be fed a lot more information. Will that make the job easier? I don`t think so.

As for the reference to self-proclaimed `pro-family` pressure groups, that was rather facetious, almost implying there was a lack of sincerity; and this: "Faith based pro-family groups fatally overstated their case during the passage of the legislation."

Fatally overstated?
  • Now look at the points that the Herald agrees require clarification.
  • the named person role
  • the exclusion of parents from decisions
  • what happens when relationships break down with the Named Person
  • what happens when relationships break down with the Lead Professional 
  • the terms of interventions
  • how `relevant and proportionate` are to be defined
  • workload, bureaucracy and cost
  • data protection and human rights

That is quite a list. As for the suggestion that the more appropriate `risk of serious harm` should replace the vague `concern over welfare`- agreed. But what is to become of the Named Person scheme when all the above are clarified and the situation is returned to a matter of child protection?
There isn`t much left. It does make you wonder why the Scottish Herald has consistently supported the Named Person policy.

Never mind.  Some important points were raised.  

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