A consultation on draft guidance for the Scottish Government’s Named Person scheme has revealed widespread concerns from charities, health boards, councils and individuals.
Responding to the findings, The Herald newspaper – a consistent supporter of the proposals – highlighted a number of serious concerns and called for the plans for a lower threshold of intervention to be reconsidered.
Simon Calvert, spokesman for campaign group No to Named Persons (NO2NP), said that responses to the consultation indicated a “growing strength of public opinion against the proposals”.
Mr Calvert said that it looks as if parents have used the consultation to “start a fight back against the Named Person scheme.
“On some questions, these individuals are almost unanimous in their disagreement with the Government.
“The Government analysis tries to sweep these figures under the rug but there is no getting away from it: the public do not like the Named Person.”
Morass’ of concerns
The Herald’s editorial yesterday reported with concern that even among the groups “directly involved”, only 55 per cent describe the guidance as clear.
“The issues are not minor”, it said and went on to note “pragmatic concerns about adding these new powers to already hard-pressed health visitors and headteachers”.
Crucially, the editorial also identified a “morass of human rights concerns” relating to, among other things, data protection.
It concluded: “Above all, the change in the threshold for intervention from the more appropriate ‘risk of serious harm’ to the vague ‘concern over welfare’ should be reconsidered.”
The Christian Institute is awaiting the result of an appeal, after it brought a judicial review against the plans, alongside CARE, Tymes (The Young ME Sufferers) Trust, Family Education Trust and concerned parents.
In the last fortnight around 90 parents, young people and children gathered at Hampden Park in Glasgow for an event designed to explain how the Named Person scheme works.
According to campaign group NO2NP, concerned parents directed a series of unanswered questions about the scheme to Head of the Scottish Government’s Child Protection Policy Team, Phil Raines, covering training, information sharing, complaints and the lack of consultation.