Is the third sector becoming an arm of the state?

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Lesley Scott, of The Young ME Sufferers Trust, wants charities to give more focus to the services they provide

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7th December 2017 by TFN Guest 4 Comments

In Scotland, the lines between governmental and non-governmental organisations are being blurred - resulting in loss of trust between them and the families they aim to serve.

Last month in Edinburgh an event called Postcards from the Fringeorganised by Tymes Trust along with the grassroots group Scottish Home Education Forum, finally allowed the voices of parents and families to be heard for the first time on the issue of the named person and getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) legislation that is being discussed at Holyrood.

What is clear from the evidence submitted by families is that they do not feel supported by this legislation, as we are continually told is its purpose, the reality is that they feel targeted and judged. 

Lesley Scott

Lesley Scott

So bad is this authoritarian and dogmatic culture that GIRFEC and named persons has generated, families are now shunning the very state agencies this legislation was meant to direct them towards for any help and support they need. The evidence from families shows that instead they are forming their own support networks through existing parents groups or even setting up new ones, thereby subverting this dangerous legislation.

But of increasing interest and concern is that third sector organisations are themselves falling in to this category of state agencies, being seen by the very families they are trying to help as simply an extension of government.

The acceptance and support of GIRFEC and named person legislation by a great many in the third sector (in direct conflict with the views of many parents and families) requires them to gather and share with state agencies information on families, which has led to breaches in data law during the embedding of this legislation into practice before it even became law. Evidence submitted to the education and skills committee over the named person legislation illustrated very clearly that this has been happening over a period of years perpetrated by many organisations in both the public and third sector.

The involvement of the third sector in the Scottish Government National Third Sector GIRFEC Project has not helped families to view these formerly independent organisations as separate from the state. The project was launched by the Scottish Government in 2013 with the aim of supporting “the wider third sector to embed the role of the third sector in implementing Getting It Right for Every Child in localities”. Those charities and organisations involved in this project are revealed to parents as purveyors and enforcers of state agenda and dogma rather than the autonomous ports of objective assistance and support they once were.

Once the trust has gone, it is rarely regained and without such a fundamental building block there can be no relationship. Engagement based on a voluntary trusting relationship between families and organisations is the foundation of the third sector; that foundation is crumbling through collusion with government over GIRFEC and named person legislation.  Does their substantial funding by the Scottish Government affect their willingness to participate?

The third sector needs to remember its roots and its purpose, break away from its dangerous liaison with government and turn its focus once more to providing independent objective advice and support to families. If not then the future of the third sector will be assimilation by government and shunning by the people they claim to serve.

Lesley Scott is Scottish officer for Tymes (The Young ME Sufferers) Trust.

Comments

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7th December 2017 by Clare Chalmers

Could anything be more true. I no longer trust any of the Charities that supported the Named Person scheme. I hope they enjoy their Government grants because I for one will not be contributing to them ever again. They pay very generous salaries to those at the top, while promoting all their so called good deeds across social media, begging from the public, all the while acting like Government mouth pieces. I wouldn’t trust any one of them with my child’s welfare never mind wellbeing. They have done themselves no favours in the eyes of many families. They have their own agendas.

7th December 2017 by Méave

My data protection was breached by a 3rd sector partner and the local authority. A service was placed directly into the youngest one's school. This happened when the Scottish government foolhardy rolled GIRFEC/named person services out before the Supreme court ruling. I now have no trust in competency of staff at schools and 3rd sector partners to even understand the basics in data protection and there is level distrust between me, the School, local authority and any of the 3rd sector partner who's posters have replaced, the childrens artwork on the school corridor walls. This was not a service requested or required, it was a service forced on every family at the school and they have changed consent forms , from a opt-in service for a 3rd sector partner to an opt-out service. I had opt-out but they ignored this and spoke directly with my child without consent and access my personal data. I don't think opt-out is DPA complaint and with consent the main focus in GDPR, is an opt-out going to be compliant with GDPR?Opting-out is assuming consent & it's incumbent of the data controller to prove consent. Consent is everythingwhen seeking to share data below child protection aka welfare which isn't to be confused with well being.

11th December 2017 by Rose Burn

Well said. The very essence of the charity sector is to be different to business and government, meeting those needs that citizens want to support with their time and money, not acting as an arm of the public sector.

12th December 2017 by Fiona

Well, of course the charities that depend upon state funding have loyalties to the state. Every state-funded children's charity backed up the Named Person scheme. I am not aware of ANY charity NOT funded by the govt. that backed up the govt's weird intentions.