Friday, 10 June 2016

The `single point of contact` myth has been exploded

From Iain MacWhirter of the Herald:

"John Swinney turned the indignation meter up to 11 in his defence of the Named Person scheme in Holyrood yesterday. Critics should be `ashamed of scaremongering` he roared and `creating a climate of misinformation`. But there`s been no need for the opposition to do that. It was after all Nicola Sturgeon who said that the NP scheme was not compulsory, when it emphatically is."

"Mr Swinney added to the confusion by comparing the Named Person with a family doctor - a `service` to be accessed as Mr Swinney put it `only when the family needs it`. But GPs are not responsible for preventing child abuse. The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, Tavish Scott, insisted that `parents and carers can say thanks, but no thanks` to a Named Person. He then contradicts himself by saying that families will `no longer be allowed to hide abuse.` Exactly."

"Child protection is not optional. This has to be made clear, whatever side you take on this issue..."

"Inevitably the shadow of two-year-old Liam Fee, who was murdered by his mothers, hung over the debate. The SNP MSP Jenny Gilruth accused the Tories of `using the death of a child to score political points`. The Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson had tweeted that Liam Fee already had a Named Person, which was half right. Fife Council admitted that Liam had indeed been assigned one as a `point of contact`. But they went on to say that this wasn`t a fully operational, all-seeing NP with all the extensive powers that go with the post."

"The trouble here is that a `point of contact` is precisely how the Government has been selling the scheme. The phrase was used repeatedly in Holyrood yesterday by MSPs. Yet it is clearly very much more than that. The SNP furiously object to the term `state guardians` but that is exactly what a Named Person is turning out to be, whether they intended this or not."

"They are appointed by the state for every single child in Scotland from the moment they are born, without exception. This is an entirely new proactive approach to child welfare that is called Getting It Right For Every Child or GIRFEC..."

"The Named Person is `a key part of the early warning system we need to make sure that every child in Scotland is protected` according to Barnardos. An early warning system only works if it has an unrestricted view. Named Persons will be expected to spot the early signs of abuse and exchange information with GPs and police - in other words to create a database in which abnormal behaviour will be monitored, recorded and assessed. This could create a bureaucracy of state intervention in family life that is unprecedented anywhere in the world."

"The responsibility on the named person will be onerous. When the next Liam Fee happens - and it certainly will happen - the finger of blame will first of all point, as it did last week to the Named Person who is suppposed to be the protector of the child."

Sad to say, the Liam Fee murder has brought to the surface serious questions about the Named Person scheme that are not going to go away.

As the writer makes clear, it has been the Scottish Government which has been misinforming the public about the role of Named Persons.

The Named Person scheme is much more than a `single point of contact` - it `s a surveillance system - and anybody who reads the ACT and the guidance can see that.

Meanwhile the Scottish Government intends to waste more taxpayer money inventing refreshed `spin` about it, for what they hope will be a still ignorant or gullible public.

`Digging a bigger hole` comes into mind at this point.

In order to understand the powers of the Named Person, a good place to start is with the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, paying particular attention to Part 4.


  1. Barnardos is quoted and so is the great reliance on charities as experts in the field. Forget the majority of parents and democracy.

    Then we have to recall Tam Baillie and wonder whose side he is on:

    Tam Baillie, the Scottish Commissioner for Children said: `The Named Person service is really a low level early warning system for where things are at an early stage of on going wrong in a child`s life;.".

    Not a single point of contact then - and who needs parents

    As we are learning by the main stream media at last, the low level warning system means databasing every child in Scotland, an unprecedented intrusion into family life and with no positive outcomes for children, who are in need, or at risk of serious harm.