Cabbies recruited as ‘spies’ for Named Person scheme

Wed, 6 Jan 2016

Hundreds of taxi drivers in Scotland are being ordered to ‘spy’ on child passengers and report conversations to their Named Person, a secret recording has revealed.

At the end of last year, Child Protection Training & Development Officer Jim Terras, was recorded saying that taxi drivers have a “legal duty” to pass on information to the Named Person.

The Named Person scheme, due to be rolled out in its full statutory form in August 2016, will appoint a state guardian for every child in Scotland.

Informing

Speaking at a training day for voluntary sector workers, Mr Terras, who works for Scottish Borders Council, emphasised the need for workers to pass on confidential information to the authorities.

Using the example of taxi drivers, he said the idea of “‘what happens in the taxi, stays in the taxi’ doesn’t exist anymore”.

He warned that taxi drivers who are contracted by the council must inform a Named Person about what they hear in the cab or risk being held directly responsible for not passing it on.

‘Terrified’

Mr Terras added: “So have I terrified you all about the Named Person coming in?”

The move was branded “Stasi-like” by the No to Named Persons campaign (NO2NP), which launched a legal action against the Scottish Government last year.

This is not about reporting abuse or neglect. It’s about passing on information to the state about the day to day happiness of young people.Simon Calvert, NO2NP

‘Bullying’

Spokesman for NO2NP Simon Calvert accused the Scottish Government of “bullying 600 hard-working taxi drivers in the Borders to inform on their passengers”.

He said: “Cabbies are being told that it is their legal duty to routinely disclose the details of passengers’ ordinary family life.

“This is not about reporting abuse or neglect. It’s about passing on information to the state about the day to day happiness of young people.”

Mr Calvert added: “The people enforcing this sinister scheme seem to have no concept of respecting privacy. For them, it’s all about the power to snoop.”

Legal fight

The Christian Institute, alongside other charities and concerned parents, has lodged an appeal against the legislation in the UK Supreme Court.

This was after the Inner House of the Court of Session, Scotland’s highest court, rejected their concerns in September last year.

If the Supreme Court appeal does not reach a favourable conclusion, the case could be taken to Europe.