Saturday, 12 March 2016

Sturgeon questioned about Named Person scheme

Speaking to Brian Taylor about the Named Person scheme at the SNP conference, Nicola Sturgeon said "It`s not compulsory. It`s an entitlement, not at obligation. If a parent doesn`t want to have anything to do with the Named Person scheme, they don`t have to."  [24.35 minutes]

That`s just not true.

Maggie Mellon, independent consultant on social work practice and public policy. has written an excellent account of the Named Person scheme in the Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care. [December 2015]

One of her points is that the legislation does not say what its defenders claim.
There is no mention of the Named Person having a duty to act on the request of, or to consult with, parents, families, children or young people, or even to take their views and wishes into account. There is no mention of confidentiality, partnership, or of rights and entitlements. There is not one single mention of families and very few of parents in the whole Act.
The Named Person has responsibility for the wellbeing of the child and can instigate actions as he or she thinks appropriate, with or without, the knowledge or consent of the child or parent.  A parent cannot opt the child out of assessments, data sharing or interventions. In fact, non-engagement by a parent is seen as a risk factor and could escalate the situation into a child protection investigation.

All there is, is a complaints process that takes a year to complete. Children could be removed from their families and long gone in that time. With that threat hanging over families, who could risk non-engagement ?

It`s a strange kind of entitlement.

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