Scotland’s children’s minister has vocalised a misunderstanding of the controversial Named Person scheme, set to be rolled out next year.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Kaye Adams show, Aileen Campbell’s attempts to defend the scheme highlighted the gap between how it is publicised and how it will actually be implemented.
She stated that the Named Person would only intervene where there are child protection concerns. But the legislation assigns a named person to every child to monitor their “wellbeing”.
Presenter Kaye Adams repeatedly pointed out that ‘wellbeing’ and nurturing are very subjective terms, and that parents might well disagree with the named person’s approach.
Adams asked: “If that named person decides that the child’s wellbeing is not being best served in their professional opinion, do they have the final say?”
Campbell replied: “Not unless there’s a child protection issue”.
Her statement contradicts a Government guide showing that the named person can check up on, for example, whether a child has a say in what they watch on TV or whether they can join Scouts or Brownies.
During the radio programme, the Named Person scheme also came in for strong criticism from a head teacher who questioned the need for such legislation.
Rod Grant said: “What legislation does is makes me accountable, and if I’m accountable for the health and wellbeing of the children in my care then I want to make sure that the resource that I need is available to me, and I can tell you from personal experience resource is not available to me currently.”
Lesley Scott, of Tymes Trust, raised concerns that parents are marginalised under the plans.
She said: “Professionals are not always right, professionals can get it wrong, but within this system with the named person the assumption is that the professionals are always right.
“Parents’ views, parents’ opinions, are put way down the ladder and way down the scale and if parents start to object, if parents start to say to professionals ‘no, you’re wrong, we’re right’ then they’re seen as a problem”, she argued.
The Tymes Trust is part of the No to Named Persons campaign group, which opposes the Named Person scheme.
The Christian Institute, alongside other charities and concerned parents, has lodged an appeal against the legislation in the UK Supreme Court.