Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Two options for complaints about Named Person

"The Scottish Government published two options that it said would allow parents to complain about their children’s treatment under the "named person" scheme in an "accessible, clear and straightforward" manner. "

"The plan has faced heavy criticism for undermining parents’ rights to raise their children as they wish. Official guidance published last December said teachers whose under age pupils admit having sex should consider contacting the child’s named person instead of their mothers or fathers."

"But a colour-coded flow chart depicting the process under the first option said parents would have to table complaints to "every organisation or body involved in the matter".

"Six possible organisations to contact were depicted in the chart the "listed authority", the "named person service", the "managing authority", the "directing authority", the "relevant authority" and any "third party".

"Although each was given a colour in the chart, none was defined or explained. Each organisation would conduct a separate investigation that would result in a letter sent to the parent. "

"The second option was more straightforward, with parents making a complaint to one of the organisations and that body contacting the others. It would communicate the findings to mothers and fathers. "

"However, even under this option, the complaints process depicted in the chart had up to 13 stages and would take up to a year to complete. If parents were not happy with the conclusion, they would then have to table another complaint with the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman."

The two options for complaints about the Named Person and the Child`s Plan are set out in the document below.

Jim Martin SPSO
It should also be noted that the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) does not have a good record of dealing with complaints about public agencies, as reported in the Scottish Review:

"In the year 2010-2011 there were 3,351 complaints to the SPSO. Putting these figures together, one arrives at a tentative estimate of around 1,340 dissatisfied complainants in a year. Therefore, over the 10 years the SPSO has been in existence, there must be well over 10,000 dissatisfied complainants. Mr Martin himself has acknowledged the large number of emails he gets about his rulings."

"The SPSO discontinued these embarrassing surveys, but in 2012 Craigforth investigated complainant satisfaction by focus group and interview. Again high levels of dissatisfaction were revealed." 

If this is the complaints system that children and families will have to rely on, that is not good news for families.

The bottom line is that children could be removed from their families, and irreversibly adopted, long before any sluggish complaints system could deal with an injustice.

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