mardi, juin 23, 2015

Say NO to Statist 'Named-Person' Legislation

Publiée le 21 juil. 2014
Maggie Mellon is an Independent Social Services Consultant and she maintains that "families are best for children, not services". She says the state "makes a lousy parent" and warns that family is currently the biggest element missing from national policy.

This talk was delivered at the NO2NP launch event which took place in Edinburgh on 9th June 2014.

Publiée le 21 juil. 2014
Dr Jennifer Cunningham is a community paediatrician in Glasgow. She says the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act is the logical outcome of a raft of Government policy documents that have paved the way to greater state intervention in families.

This talk was delivered at the NO2NP launch event which took place in Edinburgh on 9th June 2014.
Under the proposed Holyrood legislation, every child in Scotland under the age of 18 (more than one million) will be assigned a ‘named person’ – a health visitor or headteacher – who will have the power to “advise” and “inform” the child or discuss or raise matters about the child with other authorities.

No To Named Person (NO2NP) has condemned the legislation since its inception. It asserts that the Scottish Government is acting illegally and exceeding its powers by setting up the scheme to appoint state monitors or guardians in direct contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights which defends a family’s right to a private life.

The campaign group also objects to the way the Scottish Government wants to share private and confidential data on families with myriad organisations.

The legal challenge to the Named Person provision is being contested through a coalition of groups spearheaded by The Christian Institute (CI), Christian charity CARE (Christian Action Research and Education), the TYMES Trust and the Family Education Trust, with the support of academics and individual parents.

Human rights expert Aidan O’Neill QC told three judges that legislation to appoint a ‘named person’ for more than one million young people is “incompatible with the fundamental rights of a democratic society”, noting: “This is worse than the nanny state because the nanny is at least responsible to the family.”

The QC was speaking at the start of an appeal at the Court of Session in Edinburgh by campaigners fighting the Named Person scheme which is part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act.

The appeal has been mounted by a group of concerned organisations and parents after a decision taken earlier this year by Lord Pentland following an initial three-day judicial review. The judge ruled in favour of allowing the Named Person proposals to go ahead prior to full nationwide implementation in 2016.

The campaigners say the law denies families the right to a private life and also breaches data protection rights because the state will compile and share family data.

During the appeal Mr O’Neill said the state should support the family in the upbringing of children as the family is the fundamental group unit of the state and entitled to state protection.

He said the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written to counter Nazi and Fascist totalitarian states which placed value on “uniformity and conformity” and to point out that “the child is not the mere creature of the state”.

He told the court the scheme didn’t require families to give consent and offered no chance to opt in or out and said:
“The presumption is every child needs a named person. That is wrong. The vast majority of parents bring up their children perfectly well. For the state to assume a responsibility for every child regardless of need or threat of harm is to go beyond what we properly expect from a democratic society that respects families and respects diversity.”
Based on the guidance issued by the Scottish Government he also drew attention to the fact that:
“Not only can you not opt out of the scheme you have to positively co-operate with the named person otherwise you could be characterised as ‘hostile’ or ‘non-engaging’ which leads to further state involvement. ”
He said the compulsory nature of the law and the need to collate data on every child would result in “white noise” meaning “those who do need help get lost”.

He recognised that there are conflicting issues between respect for the family and responsibility for the protection of children from harm. But he said there was no pressing social need requiring interference in the lives of every family and continued:
“The overwhelming majority of children are not neglected and the Named Person scheme subverts family life and supplants parents.”
He said the scheme was drawn up to promote ‘wellbeing’ (which can include everything from mental health to a “wider vision of happiness”) among children but said: “That’s what parents do and have done through the ages. It’s not the state’s job.
“We accept there is a legitimate state interest in the protection of the vulnerable, but this is not just dealing with the vulnerable, it’s dealing with all children.“Most families do not need the state to get involved. Some parents – a tiny minority – do cause harm to their children but that does not justify appointing a named person to every child.”
He said the central assumption behind the scheme is that “the state knows best” whereas families “are the breeding ground of diversity and individuality”.

The appeal before Lord Carloway, Lord Malcolm and Lord Bracadale continues.