Named Person plans to recruit housing officers as spies

GPs and housing officers should be recruited to snoop on Scottish families as part of the Named Person scheme, according to minutes from the board behind its implementation.

The minutes also show Children’s Minister Aileen Campbell suggested that more should be done to ‘break down barriers’ with GPs, who are concerned about patient confidentiality.

The named person implementation board, chaired by Aileen Campbell, was disbanded at the end of 2014.

Overriding privacy

Minutes from the board show a clear intent to override a family’s right to privacy.

A document dated February 2013 reveals that housing officers are expected to report aspects of a child’s ‘wellbeing’ to named persons after visiting a home.

It states that working with housing officers “was very productive as they had access to information and were supportive”.

Break confidence

The document also suggests that the bond of trust between doctors and patients could be damaged by the plans.

Aileen Campbell is seen to press for the involvement of GPs in data sharing, despite concerns that doctor-patient confidentiality could be breached.

Voluntary groups were also seen as a fertile recruiting ground for information gathering.


Spokesman for NO2NP Simon Calvert described the findings as “horrifying”.

He said: “The Government has got to get its head around the simple fact that families just do not want an invasion force of state-sponsored snoopers gathering data on their private lives.”

An SNP spokesman said: “We are clear that we want everyone to take responsibility for protecting and promoting children’s wellbeing.”


The implementation board held meetings with the police, councils, social workers, health boards, children’s charities, public sector unions and civil servants.

It was supposed to work until August 2016, when the Named Person scheme will become law.

Minutes from a meeting in May 2014 revealed that Police Scotland had “raised issues surrounding ensuring high-risk children remained a focus”. The board was subsequently scrapped.

Low threshold

Under the Named Person scheme, every child in Scotland – from birth to age 18 – will be appointed a state guardian, responsible for monitoring his or her ‘wellbeing’.

Guidance surrounding the scheme equates ‘wellbeing’ with happiness.

Campaigners against the scheme have long protested against the drop in the threshold for intervention from ‘risk of significant harm’ to the vague and subjective standard of ‘wellbeing’.

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