A child well-being survey linked to the controversial Named Person scheme in Scotland has been “paused” by a local council, after parents raised serious concerns about the intrusive nature of the research.
This comes as the campaign group No to Named Person (NO2NP) held an event in Dundee this week as part of its roadshow, featuring MSP Liz Smith.
North Ayrshire Council suspended the ‘ChildrenCount’ surveys, which were carried out by researchers who knocked on residents’ doors and asked parents questions about their children.
But the Daily Record reported criticism from parents who said the questionnaire was “creepy” and “far too dodgy”.
One resident said researchers had quizzed young people in the street about which houses had children under nine.
The survey, which is part of a project also being rolled out in Dundee and Angus, has been adapted from questionnaires that were used across Perth and Kinross last year.
The project includes an online survey for schoolchildren, which has already caused controversy over its intrusive questions.
The surveys were carried out in order to fulfil the obligations of the Named Person scheme.
Dee Thomas, whose child took part in the questionnaire last year, is campaigning against the Named Person plans because of the nature of what her son was asked.
“I was really disturbed when I found out he had been asked suicide questions and things about his self esteem because we’d always brought our children up to believe that they can be confident and happy and safe within their family context.
“I think that the Named Person provisions effectively reduce the role of parenting to that of a technician working with a toolkit of Government approved prescriptives.
“In effect it’s a tickbox scenario where you’re simply ticking off the things you have to do to bring up a child well.
“I think parenting is as individual to each family as a fingerprint is to a person and the Government can’t prescribe how you should bring up a child”.
Kenneth Roy, ex-BBC journalist and editor of online magazine Scottish Review, also made the link between the ChildrenCount surveys and the Named Person scheme.
In a piece entitled, ‘We are sleepwalking into an authoritarian Scotland’, he wrote: “This is not some innocuous local initiative.
“After the pilot in Perth and Kinross, it feels like the next stage in a grand plan: the creation of a massive national database backing up the present administration’s intention to have a ‘Named Person’ for every child in Scotland.
“The named persons will be public officials. They will assume the role of advisors and guides to our children, though only in office hours and not on bank holidays”, he added.
The NO2NP roadshow meeting in Dundee this week included speeches from MSP Liz Smith, and Lesley Scott, a parent who represents a charity providing support services for families with children suffering from ME.