Every child in Scotland will be appointed a Named Person
Simon Johnson, 23 Mar 2016
Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of attempting to mislead parents about her plans to appoint a state guardian for every child by wrongly suggesting they are allowed to opt out of the “draconian” scheme.
Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader, accused the First Minister of “spinning furiously” to try and hide the fact that the Named Person is compulsory and argued it was “completely dishonest” to suggest otherwise.
Ms Sturgeon repeated her claim that the scheme is “an entitlement rather than an obligation” and claimed that neither children nor parents are “legally obliged” to use the service or follow the guardian’s advice.
But Ms Davidson and campaigners pointed out there is no opt-out in the legislation and that Named Persons have a legal right to access to a database containing “private and sensitive” information about children without the parents even knowing.
The No To Named Person (NO2NP) campaign, which is fighting the scheme in the UK’s highest court, requested a meeting with the First Minister “to take her through the law and explain how her statements are incorrect.”
Nicola Sturgeon defended the Named Person plan
Under the legislation, passed last year, the NHS will appoint a health worker to act as the Named Person for every child until the age of five. The responsibility will then pass to councils until the age of 18, with a teacher expected to adopt the role.
Ministers argue the measure is needed so that potential cases of abuse are spotted early but the UK Supreme Court is considering whether it breaches parents’ human rights to raise their offspring as they see fit.
However, Ms Sturgeon appeared to suggest earlier this month that the scheme was not compulsory, telling BBC Scotland that parents can choose not to “have anything to do with” it
Speaking after their exchanges at First Minister’s Questions, Ms Davidson said: “This is simply not true. Nicola Sturgeon is spinning furiously to try and hide the facts of this draconian measure, which places an officer of the state above parents and gathers information on children without parental consent.
“It’s completely dishonest to suggest that a parent choosing not to engage with a named person is the same thing as being able to stop their child from having one imposed in the first place.”
Earlier, she reminded the Holyrood chamber that the Tories had attempted to amend the legislation to give parents an opt-out but this was voted down by the SNP and Aileen Campbell, the Children’s Minister, who said the scheme was to be a “universal service”.
The policy is already being rolled out in the Highland, Edinburgh, Fife, Angus and South Ayrshire council areas.
Simon Calvert, spokesman for NO2NP, said:
“There is no opt-out in the legislation as her own QC made clear in court during the judicial review of the law. If a Named Person wants your data or that of your child they can get it – without either of you even knowing. So how do you opt out of that?”
Ruth Davidson accused Nicola Sturgeon of dishonesty
But Ms Sturgeon told MSPs: “I repeat that parents are not legally obliged to use the named person service. It is an entitlement rather than an obligation.
“I think that that is sensible, as it makes sure that the service is available to everybody, if and when they need it, but does not oblige anybody to use it if they feel that they do not need it.”
The First Minister argued that there are families around the country who are currently “coping very well” but who may need intervention by a Named Person in future, adding: “None of us knows which children may fall into a position in which they are vulnerable or at risk.” found here
OH MY GOOD LORD!
Nicola Sturgeon has just made a Tory sound reasonable!!
It’s a sad day when i find mysel agreeing wi Ruth Davidson!
HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN?
The SNP can say til they are blue in the face that they stand for the Scottish people
But they sure as hell DO NOT stand for me.