Almost two-thirds of Scots parents believe the Scottish Government’s plans to appoint a “named person” for every child is “an unacceptable intrusion”, a new poll has found.
And fewer than a quarter of Scots (24 per cent) think every child should have one of the state-appointed individuals to assist with their “wellbeing”, according to a poll carried out by ComRes and commissioned by opponents of the scheme.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon last week sought to play down the significance of the impact on family life, insisting that neither parents nor youngsters will have to use the Named Person service – usually provided by health visitors or teachers – if they don’t want to.
The proposals have already been rolled out in some parts of Scotland and will come into full effect in August.
But the plans have met with fierce resistance from opponents, who have already lost a court challenge in Scotland against the legislation bringing about the change and have now taken their fight to the UK Supreme Court in London.
The poll found that 64 per cent of Scots parents were against the move.
Half of Scottish parents believe the government wants to interfere too much in family life these days, according the poll, published today by ComRes. It surveyed 532 adults in Scotland earlier this month.
The study was commissioned by The Christian Institute, part of the No To Named Persons (NO2NP) campaign.
The survey also found just 24 per cent of all Scots said they would trust a named person to always act in the best interests of a child – even where this conflicted with the wishes of the parents.
The Christian Institute’s director, Colin Hart, said: “The Named Person scheme is the most audacious power grab in the history of parenting.
“Parents are, on the whole, best placed to care and look after their children, and where they are not, the state and all of its agencies should focus on helping those people.
“It should not be targeting decent, hard-working people who are simply trying to raise their children according to their beliefs and values.”
Ms Sturgeon intervened in the growing row over the issue last week as she insisted the scheme is “not compulsory”.
“It’s an entitlement, not an obligation,” she said. “If a parent doesn’t want to have anything to do with the Named Person scheme, they don’t have to. It’s an entitlement that families would have if they do have issues or concerns. It’s not mandatory.”
This prompted an angry reaction from opponents who insisted there is no “opt-out”, which the government’s QC admitted in the recent Supreme Court hearing. Judges are currently considering their verdict in the case.
The poll also found that the vast majority of Scots – 84 per cent – overwhelmingly believe parents should be responsible for children and 80 per cent believe the government’s child protection resources should focus on those most at risk rather than monitor every child.
Liz Smith, the Scottish Conservatives’ spokeswoman for young people, said: “This poll is yet further confirmation of the widespread public opposition to the named person policy. At the heart of the opposition is the concern that the crucial trust between parent and child – on which all successful families are built – will be undermined.”