‘Named Person scheme is focus of growing concern’

As criticism for the Scottish Government’s controversial Named Person scheme mounts, two more commentators have added their voices to calls for a rethink.

Writing for The Scotsman last week, sociologist Tiffany Jenkins said the scheme is “the focus for growing concern and critical scrutiny”.

And on Monday, Stephen Naysmith, Social Affairs Correspondent for The Herald, said the Government has “neglected” concerns about the plans.

Endless intervention

Jenkins outlined the myriad problems which arise when policy makers use early intervention into a child’s life as a solution to “any problem that might arise later”.

She wrote: “It is a flawed approach that has negative consequences: social solutions to such problems are neglected – structural issues are ignored; and the family has become the focus of intervention, intervention that seems to know no end.”

She continued: “The problem is that such intervention – and the assumptions behind it – will cause more harm than good.”


Jenkins added: “It is an approach that explains the disastrous “named person” scheme, which is shaping up to be a unpopular and discredited policy, even before it is even fully implemented.

“Thankfully, maybe just in time, the initiative is the focus for growing concern and critical scrutiny.

“Maybe the Scottish Government will rethink. I hope so.”


Under the Named Person scheme, every child in Scotland under the age of 18 will be appointed a state guardian to monitor their ‘wellbeing’.

The sociologist argued that: “Only when there is a very serious problem facing a child should the state agencies step in. They will be less able to act in these cases, if paying attention to the ‘well-being indicators’ of every young person.”

She concluded: “The named person scheme is an unprecedented and damaging intervention into family life that will direct help away from those most in need. It should be scrapped.”


Writing in The Herald, Stephen Naysmith also expressed concerns saying that “the Government seems to have neglected the more considered concerns about the new named person responsibilities.”

He added: “One very senior social worker told me this week that implementation would take place at a slow pace, while the government clarified what health visitors and school teachers are being asked to do. How can this really still be uncertain?”

A letter sent to schools by the Scottish Government has revealed that teachers could face unmanageable workloads under the Named Person scheme.

Reacting to the letter, The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the country’s largest teachers’ union, said it would have “serious concerns” about placing further demands on teachers.

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