Big Brother Scotland


I think part of the whole problem is the lack of accountability of government/civil service/local council circles.

A person or people can suggest such a monumentally stupid and transparent wrongness as GIRFEC yet, when it proves to be economic disaster, he/she/they do not suffer any personal damage. Fines are paid by the taxpayer, not the instigator of such lunacy. So what deterrent is a fine that you, yourself as perpetrator, don't pay? In fact, it may even act as a spur should you be one of those kinds of people who finds it amusing, or exhilarating, to cause other folks distress.


Sheila Struthers

Well-known member
"data access, data access and data access"

Thanks to Elaine for this document which illustrates the mindset of the people responsible for pushing the data-sharing agenda(including the assistant ICO).


DATA MANAGEMENT BOARD: Friday 7 June, Edinburgh



Paul Gray

Director General Communities and Governance (Chair)

Mike Neilson

Director Digital

Andrew Morris

Chief Scientist

Muffy Calder

Chief Scientific Advisor

Roger Halliday

Chief Statistician & Head of Performance

Zoe Ferguson

Chief Researcher & Head of Local Government and Reform Analytical Services

Lesley Bain

Head of Analysis and Performance Strathclyde Police

Joyce White


Ken Macdonald

Assistant Commissioner for Scotland and Northern Ireland, ICO

Rosemary Agnew

Scottish Information Commissioner

Graeme Laurie

Professor of Medical Jurisprudence, Edinburgh University

Ian Crichton

Chief Executive of NHS National Services Scotland

Vanessa Cuthill

Chief Executive of Economic and Social Research Council (by phone)


Sara Grainger

Office of the Chief Statistician and Performance

Stephen Peacock

Digital Directorate


Edmund Burke

Universities Scotland

Paul Boyle

ESRC (Vanessa Cuthill phoning in to deputise)

Mike Foulis

Director Children and Families


1.Paul Gray welcomed everyone to the meeting, particularly those who were not members of the previous Data Linkage Steering Group which this Board has evolved from.

Background and Terms of Reference

2.Mike Neilson introduced Paper 1, explaining that the Board is needed to develop a coherent overall picture of the extensive range of data activity underway and needed in Scotland to both help grow the economy and to improve public services. The Board will take stock of progress and consider its future at the third meeting. 3.In discussion, the following points were agreed,

Regarding remit:

The continual requirement to keep at the forefront of Information Governance issues should be included;
The Board should help identification of strategic opportunities as well as challenges;
The Board will take responsibility for and direct the sub-groups, who will be required to report to the Board and refer to it the most complex or difficult problems for help in resolution.
Regarding Annex A:

The term data can refer to both personal data and other wider information such as statistics. For the avoidance of doubt the ‘data sharing’ strand should be renamed ‘sharing of personal data’.
The ‘open data’ strand should be reworded to recognise the importance of making public sector information (non-personal information) more discoverable as well as accessible. It is important that assumptions about what could be useful to others are avoided;
The ‘data management: skills and resources’ cross-cutting issue requires rewording because a) ‘data controller’ has a particular meaning relating to personal data that could be misleading here and b) it is not just those who manage data who may recognise the value of it, and opening access to data may result in innovations that the data manager could not have foreseen.
Regarding Annex C:

The the Data Management Board should report to the Digital Public Services National Board for public service issues. The line to the Public Service Reform Board should remain dotted to show it is about information sharing and recognition not reporting.
The Board agreed that there is a need to identify and establish the right relationships with activity and key players in the UK as the Board will be considering a mix of devolved and reserved issues. To aid this consideration, a paper setting out key links for this Board to other Scotland and UK wide activity was requested.

Regarding membership:

Representation from the private sector is needed.

1. Adjustments to Terms of Reference and annexes to be made (SG)

2. Representative of the private sector to be invited to join the Board (MN)

3. A paper setting out the key links to other Scotland and UK wide activity that sets out the ‘data landscape’ to be considered at the next meeting (TS)

4. An update on the work of the Digital Public Services National Board to be added to the agenda for these meetings as a standing item (MN/JM)

Vision and Cross-cutting issues

4.Sara introduced the paper explaining that diagram sets out initial thoughts for the vision and long-term aims of improved data use in Scotland and how that could be achieved, and that the key issues for discussion include issues the Board needs to be live to as well as those the Board may wish to seek to influence, to assist in delivery of the draft long-term aims. 5.The vision was discussed at length and various suggestions made. The Board wished to see a redrafted vision statement that is short and can be used to galvanise the work of the subgroups, is measurable, clear on what will be different as a result, and has a clear timeframe. 6.There was broad agreement that the vision must have two key elements relating to stimulating economic growth and improving public services. The wording for the latter was much discussed (to be considered: improving public services, improving public service, tackling inequality). 7.The Board required that the vision statement be developed, in addition to a strategy for delivery, for the next meeting in 3 months.

The strategy should set out: a.the means by which the vision should be achieved, including (but not necessarily be limited to): good Information Governance; building capacity and capability to use data so as to improve services for citizens of Scotland; encouraging public engagement in decision making about the use of data. b.scope i.e. whether the vision is for: improved use of public sector data by the public sector; improved use of data from any sector by the public sector; or improved use of data by all sectors. c.what is currently working well and should be championed, as well as what could be better. d.that there should be an assumption towards sharing data, i.e. the default should be ‘share unless there is a good reason not to’ rather than ‘don’t share unless there is a good reason to’, how this cultural change will be delivered and the impact that should be visible as a consequence. 8.The Board requested a full paper on data charging for the next meeting. This should look to develop a general framework for decision making about charging, not an attempt to have a one-size-fits-all charging policy. The paper needs to provide evidence of what happens across the UK currently.


5. A redraft of the vision and aims, leading into a fully specified and actionable strategy for delivery to be discussed at the next meeting in approximately 3 months. The strategy to cover capacity, data governance, capturing value of data, and key principles of approach such as a presumption that data should be made accessible unless there is a reason not to (JM/TS co-ordinate)

6. Paper on charging for data to be prepared for the next meeting (TS)

Status report on the contributing workstreams

Sharing of Personal Data

9.Mike explained that there is a complicated landscape for policy development and decision making in this area and proposed that an existing group takes on the role of overseeing and guiding progress rather than a new group being established. The Data Sharing Technology Board (whose remit has been limited to health and social care) is now to be called the Information Sharing Board (ISB) and may be an appropriate candidate for this. 10.The Board approved the proposals to create a simple webpage for all major guidance documents; archive the Scottish Executive Legal Guidance on Data Sharing for the Public Sector; advocate use of SASPI (not specifically to the public sector). 11.The Board did not have time to consider the cultural issues that hold back data sharing and the Chair requested all members to email propositions regarding this over the coming week.


7. Discuss future responsibilities for steering the sharing of personal data with the ISB (MN)

8. All Board members to consider and share suggestions for tackling cultural and trust issues relating to data sharing, to be discussed at the next meeting. (Members)

9. Create a simple webpage for all major guidance documents (SP)

Data Linkage

12.Sara outlined recent progress on the Data Linkage Framework including a recent one-day workshop of all those actively involved in delivering aspects of the framework, the consultation on the technical specification for a Data Linkage Service (consultation responses currently being analysed); commissioned research into public attitudes about data sharing for statistics and research purposes between the public and private sectors.

13.Options for a cross-sectoral privacy advisory committee will be shaped up this year, including the possibility of expanding the ambitions for a NHS Privacy Advisory Committee, on which there has been a recent consultation.

14.Andrew added that work is being planned to develop a federated network of safe havens, and that data linkage and broader health informatics initiatives have attracted ~£13m into Scotland recently. A health informatics centre will be established in Scotland by March 2014.

15.Asked what 3 things would be most helpful to speeding up success Andrew listed data access, data access and data access. 16.The Board discussed the importance of public engagement and the sharing of examples where data access has been granted to positive effect in encouraging more and better data access, subject to proportionate Information Governance.

Data Innovation

17.The Board discussed the importance of intelligent open data, rather than just ‘open data’, and the unknown possibilities for data that remain unknown while data are undiscoverable and inaccessible. 18.It was noted that there is a digital divide in Scotland as not everyone across Scotland has the same access to on-line and digital services. There should be some caution using digitally collected data which are unlikely to be representative of the whole population. 19.To increase visibility of issues and opportunities, the Board proposed that a Data Innovation Conference or Summit should be held in Scotland. This should be an important milestone for the strategy, put current good practice at the forefront, clearly show links to economic growth and show that Scotland is serious about empowering citizens and improving public services. This might be co-ordinated with other key data initiatives in Scotland.


10. Proposals for a Data Innovation Summit to be developed, in particular focussing on what do we want to achieve, who is the audience and what do we want them to do differently having attended the summit (MN)

8 July 2013
[my bold]

Sheila Struthers

Well-known member
Getting it right for every community

We knew Inverclyde was ahead of the game*

‘Getting it right for every Child, Citizen and Community’

This means that the Council will work in partnership to create a confident, inclusive Inverclyde with safe and sustainable, healthy, nurtured communities, and a thriving, prosperous economy, with active citizens who are resilient, respected and responsible and able to make a positive contribution to the area.

As part of the Nurturing Inverclyde approach, the Council, along with its partners in the Community Planning Partnership, the Inverclyde Alliance, are focussing on achieving wellbeing outcomes for our communities, which have been adapted from Getting it Right for Every Child. The wellbeing outcomes have been expanded so that they include all our citizens and communities in Inverclyde.

We want all our children, citizens and communities to be:

Safe - Protected from abuse, neglect or harm and supported when at risk. Enabled to understand and take responsibility for actions and choices. Having access to a safe environment to live and learn in.

Healthy - Achieve high standards of physical and mental health and equality of access to suitable health care and protection, while being supported and encouraged to make healthy and safe choices.

Achieving - Being supported and guided in lifelong learning. Having opportunities for the development of skills and knowledge to gain the highest standards of achievement in educational establishments, work , leisure or the community.

Nurtured - Having a nurturing place to live and learn, and the opportunity to build positive relationships within a supporting and supported community.

Active - Having opportunities to take part in activities and experiences in educational establishments and the community, which contribute to a healthy life, growth and development.

Respected and Responsible - Citizens are respected and share responsibilities. Citizens are involved in decision making and play an active role in improving the community.

Included - Overcoming social, educational, health and economic inequalities and being valued as part of the community.

We will deliver this for all our children, citizens and communities through the achievement of the local outcomes set out in the Inverclyde Alliance Single Outcome Agreement .
Anyway, down the road a bit in Drumchapel, there are some clues as to how this will "work" (for EVERY community)...



Getting it right for every child (GIRFEC) is important for everyone who works with children and young people – as well as many people who work with adults who look after children. Practitioners need to work together to support families, and where appropriate, take early action at the first signs of any difficulty – rather than only getting involved when a situation has already reached crisis point. For more information

However, we believe GIRFEC isn’t just a principle for people working with children and families its also important for communities. With local families we will conduct a family asset mapping exercise, asking ‘what makes Drumchapel good and where do the opportunities lie’ and ‘what expertise and skills do local people have’; creating conditions where families recognise there may be challenges but they are not without resources to meet these challenges.

We will meet and discuss with families the problems or situations they face and what’s there to help. Taking a new approach to family work which creates the conditions where families use their own skills and strengths to take back control of situations or make changes and to involve local people in sharing their own ideas and skills together to find solutions to problems which services are struggling to do in traditional settings

We are aware of the challenges of welfare reform and issues of getting back to work and we will look at how we can promote opportunities to gain skills for work, or increasing academic achievement.

The project aims to achieve a situation in Drumchapel where every family and the community as a whole feels: Safe, Healthy, Nurtured, Achieving, Active, Respected, Responsible, Included. These are the principles suggested by GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child), this project aims to get it right for the whole community by working collaboratively with local people and partners.

Using an asset based approach, the Getting It Right for Every Community Project will identify and recruit up to 20 volunteer families to be local capacity builders, providing them with training and support to enable these families to co-produce and deliver a family skills learning programme

This monster is being presented as new when it has been in the pipeline for yonks...

Do you care about your children's future?*

Care any way you want as long a it is SHANARRI approved by the state.


* Links now deleted (wonder why?)
What the ****** is a 'family asset mapping exercise' ?

You can't audit someone's 'assets' (i.e. bank accounts???) without their consent. And who would give that?

The more I read of this stuff the more I have an impression of civil servants living in a deluded bubble. The thinking would appear to be that no member of the public is now capable of sorting out their own lives without state oversight and 'access to services'.

(early morning rant over :rant: )

Sheila Struthers

Well-known member
Creepy and intrusive: the new world of Scotland's children

Nice to see Kenneth Roy returning to the surveillance agenda :clap2:

The data will provide a baseline for local authorities to have regard for the "wellbeing" of a child or young person, as proposed by the forthcoming Children & Young People (Scotland) Bill...The measure will be made according to the SHANARRI principle (ie the extent to which a child is Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included). The questions asked in the survey will provide data on which this measure may be made and will also provide a child-centred focus on service provision and development rather than the current practitioner-centred approach. Given this explanation, I am content that the data are not excessive in relation to these purposes and that the third data protection principle has, therefore, been complied with.

There have been few worse examples this year of woolly officialese. But at least this wretched statement is clear about one thing: there is no attempt to deny an explicit association between the current children's legislation and the data trawl in Perth and Kinross.

The Scottish Government may not succeed in its aspiration to make Scotland the best country in the world in which to bring up children. But it looks like making the children of Scotland the most observed and recorded in the world.

To what end?


He's a good man, that Mr. Roy.

Unbelievable questions.

My experience with questionnaires is that they are rarely useful. There are all kinds of effects that come into play when someone is answering questions on a form, unless the questions are factual. For example, do you own a car?

Even then you might have trouble because some people who are busy buying a car on the never-never might think that they own it whilst others believe it's not theirs until they pay it off.

Other people just downright lie on questionnaires. Or boast. Or think they've done someone when they haven't. Or believe that the questions are nosy and want to sabotage the data-gathering exercise....

So it's likely to be a complete waste of time and money collecting so-called 'data' like this.

Elaine Kirk

Super Moderator
Goodness me I was visiting England's Children's Commissioners website on an unrelated matter and notice she submitted a consultation response in December 2013 to the English Government giving her stance (supported by legal advice ) on the subject of information sharing. It may be PDF which puts some off downloading but it makes an interesting read .
What was the Scottish CC's take on information sharing ??

Elaine Kirk

Super Moderator
And the Scottish Children's Commissioners PDF 2013 response to the chyp bill said then
I am concerned about the introduction of the new information sharing duty on public authorities and service providers at s. 26, which has not been consulted upon 18 . My understanding is that the new test requiring information sharing where information ?might be relevant to the exercise of the named person functions? (s. 26 (2)(a) would significantly lower the current thresholds for information sharing and substantially broaden the grounds on which such information sharing would occur. This is a shift from sharing relevant information where there are concerns about the ‘risk of harm’ 19
to sharing information where there are concerns about the ‘well-being of individual children and young people’ 20 – where ‘well-being’ is very broadly defined in terms of children being: Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included (SHANARRI) 21 . This would appear to be a radical change to existing information sharing frameworks relating to children and young people.

It is crucial that the right balance is struck between the need to share information to protect and promote the child’s wellbeing and the child’s right to privacy (art. 16 UNCRC; art. 8 ECHR), taking account of the UNCRC’s general principles including the best interest principle (art. 3) and children’s right to be heard (art. 12). This has to be made clear in the Bill, with guidance reinforcing this point in practice. Where information is shared, such disclosure of personal information must be proportionate, appropriate and relevant.
Children value their privacy and confidential services, as is clear from numerous reports 22 and recognition has to be taken of this fact. I believe this is a clear example of the need for a CRIA to be carried out on all of the Bill’s provisions.
Maybe I will go see if the Welsh CC has any views on info sharing

Sheila Struthers

Well-known member
An excellent blog

Sorry I've been quiet:smow: If I'd had the time I'd have posred several posts from this blog up here.

The author came to the Girfec agenda with an open mind and has recently researched and run with many of the wider implications.


Sheila Struthers

Well-known member
Scots to be battery farmed - a nation of lab rats

Thanks to Elaine for this

Lithium-water test in suicide study

Adding lithium to drinking water supplies could help to reduce suicide rates, according to a team of psychiatrists.
Naturally-occurring levels of the chemical are to be measured in supplies in Scotland and compared with suicide rates in the population it serves.
It follows similar studies in the US and Japan which found that suicide rates are higher in areas where there are low levels of lithium in the drinking water.
The chemical is a common treatment for bipolar disorder but is found in many water supplies.
The project was announced at the Royal College of Psychiatrists' International Congress in London.
Lithium levels will be measured by postcode and compared with Scottish Health Survey and NHS statistics.
The team will also test the impact of adding lithium to water supplies just as fluoride is added to prevent tooth decay.
Professor Allan Young, professor of mood disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, said: " We have a considerable body of evidence that suggests that high levels of the chemical in the water supply could save lives.
"The key to lithium's impact on reducing suicide as a pharmaceutical agent is in reducing impulsivity as well as depression.
"We are now embarking on urgent research to establish the impact of taking low levels of lithium as medication, as well as adding lithium to the water supply in much the same way as fluoride is added to prevent tooth decay."
Dr Daniel Smith, from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow, said: " If we can become deficient in calcium and zinc, there is absolutely no reason why we cannot become deficient in lithium.
"Previous studies have not always taken different variables such as poverty and unemployment into account when making this comparison.
"In Scotland, we have ideal conditions in which to carry out this research. A single organisation, Scottish Water is able to measure levels of lithium by postcode and we can make use of the excellent routine data which is available from sources such as the Scottish Health Survey and from the Information Services Division of NHS Scotland."
[my bold]

There was an article in The Herald too but it misses out the boasting about the ideal laboratory that is Scotland.

Shame SHIP forgot about the animation on National Data Linkage mentioned here...

Oh well! We'll just have to research it for ourselves - see previous posts on this thread and have a look over at Alice's blog.

Sheila Struthers

Well-known member
Another spot on quote from David:

So what we're seeing here is the Named Person scheme - which we thought was one of the worst and most totalitarian pieces of legislation ever written in English - is in fact only one part of a much wider agenda that goes to every corner of government - local and national in Scotland - and deals with everybody in the smae mindset


The thin end of the GIRFEC wedge is already getting thicker

Cross posting this thread here for reference: The thin end of the GIRFEC wedge is already getting thicker

From the Express: SNP snoops to judge parents on spirituality

SCOTLAND’S controversial state guardians should target parents who do not show enough “love, hope and spirituality” to their children, claims a senior government adviser.
Speaking at an NHS conference in Edinburgh, civil servant Bob Fraser (the Getting it Right for Every Child health adviser in the 'Better Life Chances' unit :puke:) confirmed that every family in the country will be monitored by an army of state snoopers wielding wellbehaving indicators and outcomes.

At the moment, each child is judged against a set of markers designed to test their wellbeing.
They actually mean wellbehaving.

They include being “healthy”, “safe” and “active”, although it now appears they could be expanded to include factors such as how much “hope” a child is offered.