Parents demand inquiry into named person scheme

Child guardian

Campaigners say they have evidence of illegal data sharing 

9th May 2018 by Robert Armour 2 Comments

Parents campaigning against the Scottish Government's named person legislation are calling for an independent public inquiry into the policy’s impact.  

Campaigners say the government's getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) policy and named person scheme has unleashed an illegal data-sharing regime that has infringed family privacy and led to a breakdown in trust in public services.

Lesley Scott and Alison Preuss, on behalf of Tymes Trust and the Scottish Home Education Forum, submitted a petition to minsiters at Holyrood highlighting problems created by the “premature” roll-out of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 along with evidence of illegal data sharing. 

Last July Supreme Court judges said specific proposals about information-sharing "are not within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament."

Campaigners say they have amassed a raft of evidence of professional misconduct and data misuse - mostly by councils and the NHS, but also the third sector - via freedom of information and statutory subject access requests. 

However Lesley Scott said the Scottish Government has changed nothing since the UK Supreme Court ruling.

She said: "The Scottish Government has failed to acknowledge or address the breach of human rights that their flagship GIRFEC named person policy continues to sanction. The people of Scotland deserve better and there must now be an independent public inquiry.

"We need to know how our rights can be so easily overridden despite our history as a nation that values freedom. Where were the checks and balances; why did nobody in authority resist; where is the accountability in government?”

Jane Colby, Tymes Trust executive director, added: "Who is ultimately to blame for this fiasco? Will anyone put their hands up and resign? Who will apologise to these families?"

Joint petitioner and co-ordinator of the Scottish Home Education Forum, Alison Preuss, said: "The fact that national guidance has remained uncorrected and training for professionals continues to get it wrong is nothing short of a national scandal, and victims of this destructive policy are clamouring to have their voices heard after being sidelined for years by state-sponsored vested interests." 

The petitioners embarked on an independent evidence-gathering exercise last year after they were blocked from providing oral evidence to the parliament's education and skills committee on the information-sharing bill that the Scottish government hoped might satisfy the court ruling.

The bill has since been stalled by the committee until issues with the accompanying code of practice are resolved, and the deputy first minister has also come under pressure over alleged government attempts to influence witnesses.  

A spokesperson for NO2NP, which spearheaded the successful court challenge, said: "The named person scheme – and the Scottish government‘s insistence on trying to drive it through despite massive public opposition and a damning Supreme Court judgement – has done a great deal of damage to public trust. No one has ever been held accountable for this. It’s long past time for an independent inquiry."

It comes as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25 May. Campaigners say this makes presumed consent - a feature of school surveys and child health programme participation - redundant.

The Scottish Government has been asked to respond. 

9th May 2018 by George McCann

When a South Lanarkshire Council can breach data protection by sending illegal emails containing private information to 3rd parties then pap it off as an admin error then we have a major issues. Passing on an email to another person on a first name basis and asking that person by name to break the law was an "admin error"???? and despite admitting sending this email ICO did NOTHING?????? because it was an "admin error" by the "head of admin"???? So the "head of admin" in South Lanarkshire Council did not understand basic DPA?????? Scottish politics is corrupt and will continue to be while the "old pals" keep protecting and cover each other.

9th May 2018 by Clare Chalmers

Why on Earth was the data protection act of 1998, which protects us all, overridden & ignored leading to the abuse of so many families? Why did the ico (an independent body) allow and promote this? What was the legal advice given to the the Scottish Government at the time that led them to presume they could abuse Human rights in this way? Why has it been left to citizens such as myself to correct this illegal data sharing with organisations who still to this day believe they can share without consent, even stating as much on their websites. Shouldn’t that be the ico’s job, after all they issued unlawful advice to start with and have failed to address that since. Those abused deserve compensation, the rest of us deserve an apology. A full independent inquiry needs to happen, to restore lost trust and ensure this can never happen again.