Families could suffer “destructive state intrusion” under new Scottish Government legislation, a sociology lecturer has warned.
Dr Stuart Waiton was speaking about the ‘named person’ scheme which would assign a state guardian to every child in Scotland, tasked with overseeing their wellbeing.
Waiton, who is organising a conference on the named person issue next week, said the Government “appears to be blind” to its dangers.
Writing on the Spiked website, he said a “dystopian novel” he had once imagined, about children being given a ‘support worker’ from birth, is “no longer a futuristic fantasy”.
He said there is a “serious risk that the relationship between the ‘named person’ and parents will become one predicated on suspicion”.
“Given that the red line for when it is appropriate to intervene in a child’s life is also being downgraded, from the child being seen as at serious risk of harm to mere concerns about their ‘wellbeing’, the potential for unnecessary and potentially destructive state intrusion into family life with this law is significant”, he added.
However, Dr Waiton commented, the Scottish Government “appears to be blind to the potential this new act has for transforming the relationship between parents and the state, and for degrading the very meaning of privacy”.
“Likewise, the potential this approach has for sullying relationships between teachers (who will make up the majority of named persons) and parents is ignored”, he added.
The Abertay University lecturer continued: “There is also a great danger here that by incorporating every single child in the child-safety rubric, the few children who need state intervention in their lives will get lost in this vast system and not get the support they need.
“As one concerned parent has noted, when you are looking for a needle in a haystack, why make the haystack bigger?”
The Christian Institute has also raised concerns about the named person plans, and is planning a judicial review against the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act.
Colin Hart – the Institute’s Director – says the named person scheme “undermines the rights and responsibilities of ordinary mums and dads”.