Wednesday 8 June 2016

Named persons will decide needs of the child

The NO2NP campaign group has snipped part of the debate about the Named Person scheme led by Kaye Adams for which Kenneth Roy has provided a transcript of the salient parts of the conversation. It takes place between Kaye Adams and Alan Small, chair of one of Scotland`s child protection committees.

AS (the caller): "I don't think it's helpful that the media and Radio Scotland are involved in this as well continue to use the phrase 'state guardian'. I think that gives the wrong impression. In fact, what we're talking about is a teacher or a health visitor. We're not talking about somebody who will intrusively inquire into people's lives. They're there to help and support."

Kaye Adams: "But I mean that's what we don't exactly know at this point as to what extent an individual call them what you will will have the power or indeed the inclination to interfere or get involved or pry or inquire into people's lives. I mean, is that controlled?"

AS: "Yes."

KA: "I mean, can you hang up the phone and say, 'Go away, I'm not interested'? You know, they phone up and say, 'Hello, I'm your child's assigned Named Person. I'd like to.....'. 'No, bye'. Can you do that?"

AS: "No."

KA: "Oh? You can't do that?"

AS: "Yes and no. Well, it is it all has to be taken into context with the needs of the child. So it's not right and proper..."

KA: "But who decides the needs of the child?"

AS: "Well, that will be up to services and the Named Person. However, the legislation is completely covered by..."

KA: "Where's the parent in that?"

AS: "...and the word that should be used is 'proportionality'. The parent will be involved throughout."

KA: "But these words are so open to interpretation. 'Proportionality' define for me 'proportionality'."

AS: "I actually don't think there is a definition that's suitable for 'proportionality'. 'Proportionality' is fairly well understood in public service. It's not intrusive, it's not being overly heavy handed and it's working with parents and families and I think that's what I think Named Persons will do."

Kenneth Roy then goes on to analyse the contributions from AS before saying: "Sparing the blushes of all concerned, there would have been no need to publish the transcript of this woeful exchange but for one salient fact: the caller on the other end of the telephone was a retired superintendent of police called Alan Small. In 2011, having left the police after 31 years' service, Mr Small somehow found himself 'leading' the Scottish Government's information-sharing team at GIRFEC (Getting It Right for Every Child), the project that has spawned the Named Person scheme."

"He left the Scottish Government in January 2015, but not to take up gardening. Only three months later, he was appointed chair of the child protection committee for of all places Fife. In that important role he will be directly responsible for the significant case review into the death of Liam Fee."

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It should also be remembered that in his earlier role, Alan Small had said that Fife already had the Named Person in place since April 2013 and offered it as an example of good practice on information sharing.

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