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Politics – Named Persons concerns

February 2016

MPs and academics have continued to raise concerns about the Scottish government’s controversial Named Person scheme.

According to an article in the Scottish Mail on Sunday, health visitors who become named persons could end up being responsible for the welfare of up to 350 children, due to severe staff shortages in Scotland’s health boards.

Earlier in December, during a debate in the Scottish parliament, Mark Griffin, Scottish Labour MSP, said teachers and health visitors will be expected to carry out the Named Person role ‘on top of their usual duties, with no extra resources’.

This came as an academic warned that the state guardians appointed to every child in Scotland are being trained to be ‘suspicious of parents’. A report from the Christian Institute quoted Dr Stuart Waiton, senior lecturer in sociology at Abertay University, as saying there was an ‘extraordinary potential for gross interference’ in family life.

Dr Waiton claimed: ‘Every single professional who comes into contact with children is being trained to be suspicious of parents. Rather than using their common sense, professional judgment and basic humanity to recognise problems, they are being educated to be risk averse, to think “safety”, and danger, and to intervene in a family’s life based on minor issues’.

The Christian Institute together with other organisations, such as charity CARE, the TYMES Trust and the Family Education Trust, are bringing a joint case against the Named Person scheme before the Supreme Court on 8 March.

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