Below is a letter signed by Scotland’s leading children’s charities and public sector stakeholders, about the arguments being heard in the Supreme Court this week, by those opposed to the national roll-out of the Named Person service. This letter was printed on Wednesday 9 March 2016 in the Scotsman, Herald, Daily Record and National newspapers.
Dear Sir or Madam
Supreme Court must throw out appeal against Named Person
In the week that the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom will hear the arguments presented by those opposed to the national roll out of the Named Person service, we, as Scotland’s leading children’s charities and public sector stakeholders, hope the court dismisses this case as other courts have on two previous occasions.
The campaign against the Named Person provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, has sought to portray the policy as a ‘State Guardian’ for every child and a material erosion of family privacy. This is simply not the case.
The introduction of the Named Person was a direct policy response to requests from parents for a simplified approach to accessing support when they need it. It represents a single point of contact for any family looking for help or access to public services. The Named Person will also coordinate action when signs emerge that a child or family might be in particular difficulty.
The people charged with this role, be they health visitors or promoted teachers, are already looking out for our children – we would expect nothing less. They already handle sensitive information and offer support when needed. They don’t snoop, or collect information unnecessarily nor do they share information inappropriately. That won’t change when the policy is rolled out. The new legislation will simply codify best practice and enhance the support available to families.
As Lord Carloway put it, when he threw out the appeal against the Named Person in September last year: “Its policy is to put the best interests of every child at the centre of decision-making… [and] to prevent some of the tragedies which have occurred in the recent past.”
Whilst we hope their legal challenge will fall once again, we will seek to work with those who are concerned about the policy and how it may be implemented to ensure the policy is as workable as possible and that their concerns are not realised.
SallyAnn Kelly, Chief Executive, Aberlour
Martin Crewe, Director, Barnardos Scotland
Alison Todd, Chief Executive, Children 1st
Jackie Brock, Chief Executive, Children in Scotland
Matt Forde, Director, NSPCC Scotland
Paul Carberry, Director, Action for Children Scotland
Satwat Rahman, Chief Executive, One Parent Families Scotland
Clare Simpson, Project Manager, Parenting Across Scotland
Maggie Simpson, Chief Executive, Scottish Child Minding Association
Seamus Searson, General Secretary, Scottish Secondary Teachers Association
Alistair Gaw, President, Social Work Scotland
Theresa Fyffe, Director, Royal College of Nursing Scotland