Despite my longstanding SNP membership I write in support of Charlotte Fox’s excellent critique of the SNP administration’s Named Person legislation and her appeal to those of us, whether SNP members or not, who disagree with it to stand up and be counted (Letters, 3 July).
As both a parent and a grandparent, I fully share her fears about excessive state intervention in ordinary family life which would seem to flow from this legislation, and like her I cannot get my head around the contrast in the administration’s thinking between its aspirations for Scottish independence – which I support – and its strange lack of trust in the ability of most ordinary Scottish parents to bring up their children without the constant supervision of the state.
If we Scottish parents are uniquely incapable – in the administration’s eyes – of carrying out our child-rearing responsibilities effectively, how can we be expected to vote in favour of independence at some future referendum? Why not just face the “fact” – devoutly believed by our Unionist opponents – that as a people we really are “too stupid” to take on such a large responsibility? This is a perfectly genuine point which – regrettably – seems to have totally escaped the administration’s attention.
IAN O BAYNE
I agree completely with the recent letter from Charlotte Fox as regards the SNP’s proposed named person policy and that there should be a greater groundswell of protest against this clumsy and overblown idea. I come from a closer perspective as a serving Children’s Panel member in Falkirk. Falkirk have, for some time, been operating the “Get It Right For Every Child” (GIRFEC) model. My objections are as stated by many others, in the area of unnecessary state intervention into family life.
On a practical note, most government department’s administration is slow moving and woefully inefficient, with the obvious recent example of the police being unable to indicate numbers of stop and searches and blaming it on a “clunky’ computer. What chance, therefore, is there of an effective system of monitoring every child in Scotland up to the age of 18?
At present, Children’s Hearings receive reports from and attendance by Social Services, health visitors, and teachers, along with many other organisations such as Barnardo’s and Spark of Genius, as well as local authority intensive crisis services.
Many of these people who will be “Named Persons” are already actively involved with families and doing excellent work. Families in crisis require a speedy, effective response from the relevant services but there is the real likelihood they will fall into the “black hole” that will be government administration.
We do not need GIRFEC but what we do need is “Get It Right For Every Vulnerable Child” and there are, unfortunately, still too many of them. If the Scottish Government has £40 million to invest it would be much better spent in bolstering the existing services which are often overstretched and swimming against the tide. For probably the first time in my life I’m in agreement with a Labour politician – Ken McIntosh – that this proposal needs to be roundly rejected!
David F Donaldson