Campaign against GIRFEC, data theft and a state guardian for every child


Don't ever underestimate home ed parents whose children are under attack by state agents.

At least some of the known hostiles are already on (extremely candid) camera making wild claims, recorded without their knowledge or consent :lol: (because "they may object and think they have a choice, which they categorically do not").

Most savvy parents are now covertly recording named persons, some of whom are stupid enough to walk straight into the bear traps. It's going to be carnage for the 'snoop, snitch and snatch' brigade, but sadly vulnerable children are going to be left at much greater risk while the established child protection system melts down.

Not that the govt cares because it's all about the data.

Johnny S

were any of the current laws we treasure, and protect our freedom, ever first established without some breaking of laws? Some countries won't even allow HE.
I'm glad I'm well clear of it, because if it gains a foothold in Scotland you can bet the rest of the UK is going to follow suit. A great shame that it's not possible for large numbers of families to simply move out of Scotland in protest at the legislation, a large vote with the feet might shake them up a bit.


Labour Hame, oh dear, oh dear

Labour Hame published this article by Beth Greene on its website on 19 October in advance of the Scottish Labour Party conference in Perth (which was incidentally leafleted by NO2NP volunteers). It missed the most important issues and just dissed the NP scheme (not what lies behind it):

Named persons is an attack on the working class

In the spirit of 'debate', a poorly argued riposte by one Michael Shanks was subsequently published on 22 October. That Labour supports the NP scheme is hardly a surprise since they nodded the CHYP Act through Holyrood with the rest of the 'Behinderte'. Besides, GIRFEC / ECM are just New Labour wet dream surveillance policies that were enthusiastically picked up by the SNP (who are clearly being puppet mastered from elsewhere).

Named Persons – not sinister, not an attack on families, but perhaps in need of more thought

By far the best part of the second article, even if you don't make it through the vomit inducing claims straight from the Scot Govt propaganda machine (fawned over by a 'Scottish Labour' activist!), is the comment from H, which is too good not to be reproduced in full since s/he is a legislative drafter (probably from Westminster where they are a great deal more meticulous).

Here is part of the Act, not what the Scottish Govt wants to tell you the Act says. I find it better to go to the source. Here is an exceptionally important section in relation to the Named Person: sharing of information.

“26 Information sharing.
(1) A service provider or relevant authority must provide to the service provider in relation to a child or young person any information which the person holds which falls within subsection (2).
(2) Information falls within this subsection if the information holder considers that—
(a)it is likely to be relevant to the exercise of the named person functions in relation to the child or young person,
(b)it ought to be provided for that purpose, and
(c)its provision to the service provider in relation to the child or young person would not prejudice the conduct of any criminal investigation or the prosecution of any offence.
(3) The service provider in relation to a child or young person must provide to a service provider or relevant authority any information which the person holds which falls within subsection (4).
(4) Information falls within this subsection if the information holder considers that—
(a) it is likely to be relevant to the exercise of any function of the service provider or relevant authority which affects or may affect the wellbeing of the child or young person,
(b)it ought to be provided for that purpose, and
(c)its provision to the service provider or relevant authority would not prejudice the conduct of any criminal investigation or the prosecution of any offence.”

Now, I’m a legislative drafter. Can I say that the above is the most self-referential rubbish I’ve ever had the misfortune to wade through. Leaving that aside, what this appears to be saying is, if the Named Person wants it, the Named Person gets it UNLESS it will inhibit the investigation or prosecution of a crime. So if the Named Person thinks, I wonder if the people living with Child A are healthy, they can request their medical records. If the Named Person thinks, I wonder if the children are involved with sports, they check up on that.

Why? Why should a teacher or health visitor have these rights of invading a family’s privacy solely on the grounds that “it is likely to be relevant”? Not actually relevant. Not approved by a higher authority like a search warrant would be. Just subjectively by the Named Person thinking that they might need it.

And all of this on the basis of the threshold test of “well-being”, which is an unspecified, non-legal notion.

A list of the “Relevant authorities” is

1 NHS 24
2 NHS National Services Scotland
3 Scottish Ambulance Service Board
4 State Hospitals Board for Scotland
5 The National Waiting Times Centre Board
6 Skills Development Scotland Co. Ltd (registered number SC 202659)
7 Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland
8 The Scottish Sports Council
9 The chief constable of the Police Service of Scotland
10 The Scottish Police Authority
11 The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
Comments are closed on the post, but Labour Hame (to give them credit) tweeted that comments are auto-closed after 7 days due to spam (we know about that one!)

It never fails to amaze me that political activists (of all party persuasions) seem to think we are stupid enough to believe a word that passes the lips of their respective leaders. As 'H' notes, it's best to go to the original source before commenting. Aileen in particular should have consulted her own legislation, being the Named Minister in charge of the Stasi. She has even gone live on air to tell us that 'wellbeing' is defined in the CHYP Act (when it isn't).

Meanwhile, Scottish Labour Party leader Kezia Dugdale thinks it's a great idea (she would, wouldn't she):

Scottish Labour conference: Kezia Dugdale 'proud' to be part of UK party

Besides the fact that she really needs to get better shoes (according to the Sunday Mail) to compete with wee Nicola, not all of us see the data stealing, citizen surveillance agenda behind GIRFEC through party political sun specs; indeed some of us would have to be marched to the polling stations with a gun at our heads if voting (like the Named Person) ever became compulsory.


I'm glad I'm well clear of it, because if it gains a foothold in Scotland you can bet the rest of the UK is going to follow suit. A great shame that it's not possible for large numbers of families to simply move out of Scotland in protest at the legislation, a large vote with the feet might shake them up a bit.
Families are already leaving, and a few have sent their children to stay with relatives elsewhere while they sell up, but some are struggling to flog their houses as land grabbing is also high on the agenda. I spoke to a friend yesterday who has been told by her agent that there is no longer any demand for high value properties so they have a Scottish millstone round their necks having already left the country.

Never mind we have the smartest city in the UK (Glasgow) where citizens' every move can be tracked... and Englandshire is not far behind.


Alice's comment is well worth reading Confusing pathways to data sharing

National Data collection points

National means National - it means everybody (apart from the elite few).

So while everybody is confused about the role of the Named Person - is it compulsory to engage with the Named Person, or not? - the statutory and non-consensual nature of data sharing by Named Persons/or any other GIRFEC busybody, is overlooked.

The only way to disengage from such an invasion of privacy would be to withdraw from any interaction with any government body which nowadays includes public/private/voluntary partnerships - and any neighbour, relative or casual busybody who has a concern.

Getting rid of the Named Person does not get rid of GIRFEC and data sharing.
Nail on head! :clap2:


Is Scotland any closer to becoming the best place for children to grow up?

From Holyrood magazine: Is Scotland any closer to becoming the best place for children to grow up?

Many families would in fact say that Scotland is rapidly becoming the worst possible place to grow up due to the pervasive child grooming and surveillance culture.

It has been two-and-a-half years since the Scottish Government introduced the Children and Young People Bill, a year-and-a-half since it received Royal Assent. And, yet, part four of the Act, which cements a single point of contact – a midwife, health visitor or teacher – to look out for a child’s welfare, remains mired in controversy less than a year out from its implementation.

“If the government was sensible, they would announce a delay in the implementation and just let it die off,” says Maggie Mellon, vice-chair of the British Association of Social Workers. Mellon’s objections are three-fold: she deems there to be no evidence to support the measure; the threshold for intervention is “lowered significantly”; and the legislation itself clashes with what proponents of the provision declare its intent to be.

A former chair of the Scottish Child Law Centre, Mellon will this week debate the measure one-on-one with Jackie Brock, chief executive of Children in Scotland, at the latter’s annual conference. “There has been a lot of mischief made because of people’s political and cultural antipathy towards what they call state intervention – what I would call good universal services,” says Brock. As it stands, the range of silos within children’s services that parents and children must navigate are “ineffective, inadequate and can actually lead to damage”, she adds.
Let's hope Maggie Mellon​ reminds Jackie Brock in their upcoming head to head debate that the latter's use of the Newspeak term "silos" refers to what we boring old farts would describe as discrete "professions", which once upon a time required specific training to reach the required level of competence in, and certification for, given roles, e.g. teaching, midwifery, nursing, social work. In Ms Brock's brave new single silo world, where SHANARRI wheel spinning is the only qualification needed, poor quality or downright dangerous decisions will be made by those without relevant qualifications or assessment skills. Never mind I'm sure the same "child protection" whisperer that Aileen Campbell had to rely on during her recent BBC performance will be on hand to distort the facts.


Rainbow worship and talking through colons

Guess who "won" the Children in Scotland conference debate!

Today's HEF blog post proffers our different perception of the GIRFEC Named Person problem.

Rainbow worship and talking through colons

The SHANARRI worshipping bash of the year was held in Glasgow last week in the form of Children in Scotland’s annual conference 2015 [#CISAC2015] with a traditionally colonic title, Gamechangers: Transforming our children’s sector.

It’s no wonder George, Zippy and Bungle were so excited as they made their way out of the sock drawer to help their ‘Named Person’ Geoffrey share the Scottish Government’s creatively crafted 10 Facts about the Named Person, while studiously avoiding any mention of these 11 Reasons to Say NO to the Named Person Scheme. They hadn’t had an outing since the Every Child Matters DCSF rainbow was ditched by the DfE in England back in 2010, so they were only too pleased to stage a comeback and regale delegates with tales of the tempting pot of gold that awaits collaborators at the end of the GIRFEC rainbow.


Theatre group gets primary kids singing from shanarri song sheet

Hopscotchgate now has its very own thread as it is likely to run and run and run...

It's not going well for Mr SHANARRI and Ms GIRFEC as the wheels on their wagon have finally sheared off...

Alice reports on the Mail on Sunday article on the Hopscotch Theatre Company's controversial SHANARRI promo drama being punted round schools: Singing for a 'single point of contact`

From NO2NP: Theatre group gets primary kids singing from Shanarri song sheet

[The linked video contains grooming content which some listeners may find distressing]

Primary school children have been taught to sing along to politically correct Government mantras in a new theatre production, entitled ‘Rights of the Child’, which has been touring Scottish schools over the last few months.
Hopscotch, which has received thousands of pounds of public money for the project, has also produced a 24-page teaching resource for schools to use in the classroom after children have watched the play.

The materials feature lesson plans designed to teach children the Scottish Government’s definition of wellbeing, but the nature of many of the lessons undermine parents and encourage children to think that love and care can be found in all adults.
A NO2NP spokesman said:

“I’m sure touring Scottish schools with pro-Government propaganda is a great money-spinner. But whether it’s what tax-paying parents want is quite another thing. They say this will play to 28,000 children. I hope parents will tell schools they don’t want their children to have anything to do with it. Hopscotch should be told to hop it before they can do any more damage to family life.

“Who thought it was a good idea to teach children to sing the praises of Government policy? Don’t they realise how awful that looks? I think most parents would prefer their children to be singing nursery rhymes not Named Person mantras.”
Schoolhouse was invited to comment:

“Parents send their children to school to be educated, not indoctrinated, but here we have paid edutainers being welcomed into classrooms to promote GIRFEC propaganda and the belief among children that the Government respects children’s human rights when nothing could be further from the truth.

“The Government has chosen to ignore all of the ‘inconvenient’ rights afforded by the UNCRC in order to progress its own authoritarian agenda, where state dictated ‘life journeys’ and outcomes for every child are misrepresented as ‘wellbeing’ rights. Imposing a compulsory Named Person on every child and sharing their personal information without consent is a blatant infringement of the right to privacy, just one of the rights that don’t figure anywhere in the state’s pick and mix version of the convention.

“By singing from the SHANARRI song sheet, the Hopscotch Theatre Company may have found favour with the Government, and a lucrative income from schools while local arts groups fold due to lack of funding, but parents should be aware that this programme is one of social engineering, not education and certainly not children’s rights.”
This was a really unwise move by Hopscotch, who have disabled comments on the video, closed down their Facebook page and protected their Twitter account.

A bad case of stage fright, it seems, and some parents are justifiably livid. The comments I saw before the FB page vanished were pretty hard hitting (but well within the boundaries of R for Respect) and it didn't help their case when a review page was set up in its place.

Panto has nothing on this. :drama:

Only last month they were boasting about their report card from Education Scotland (i.e. the government).

Nicely covered by the Christian Institute:

Children ‘indoctrinated by Named Person sing-a-long’

NO2NP’s Simon Calvert said:
“People are already worried that the Named Person will undermine parents without this exercise in softening up children’s minds.”

He said:
“When there are countries where girls are banned from going to school and boys are recruited as child soldiers, this attempt to use an international children’s rights convention to draw pupils into supporting unpopular Scottish Government policy is, frankly, repulsive.”
and our very own:

Alison Preuss of Schoolhouse, a supporter of NO2NP, said:

“Parents send their children to school to be educated, not indoctrinated”.


Brave New Single Silo Scotland

From the HF blog: Brave New Single Silo Scotland [Please refer to the original article for hyperlinked references]

Since the public has been kept in the dark and deliberately misled by the Scottish Government as to the agenda behind its Children and Young People Act, many parents remain oblivious to the shift in the relationship between family and state, which will hit them right between the eyes in August 2016 when state imposed snoopers are granted lawful authority to monitor the “wellbeing” (as defined by them) of every child, and to access the personal data (including heath, education, social work and police records) of family members and other third parties.

In an effort to raise awareness of the coming social tsunami, NO2NP has just re-posted a link on its Facebook page referencing para 76 of the CHYP Bill policy memorandum which completely contradicts the propaganda that is still being shamelessly peddled by ministers and allied cheerleaders who stand to gain big bucks from Grand Theft Data.

76. Currently, information about a child may be shared where the child is at a significant risk of harm. However, the role of the Named Person is based on the idea that information on less critical concerns about a child’s wellbeing must be shared if a full picture of their wellbeing is to be put together and if action is to be taken to prevent these concerns developing into more serious issues. Without the necessary power to share that kind of information, the Named Person will not be able to act as effectively as is intended. This was a point raised consistently by practitioners and professionals.
The fact that directly parented children are not being overseen on a daily basis by SHANARRI state guardians (except during the holidays and at weekends when the monitor classes like to enjoy their leisure time) now apparently means that their wellbeing is automatically deemed at risk, but the only thing such families are placing at risk is the state’s daily dose of personal data being covertly collected from the children via intrusive school surveys, direct interrogation and “circle time”. In other words, innocent, young, malleable children, whose care has been entrusted by parents to so-called professionals, are being used and abused to gain access to details of their families’ private lives. As one parent of a primary aged child reported:

“My son’s class had ‘circle time’ where they were asked to talk about something that they find embarrassing (an actual learning outcome) or something that worries them. When he came home, we got to hear all about the divorces, money worries, illnesses (and more!) of his classmates’ families.”
This is, or should be, a Niemoeller moment of reflection for all. As ARCH warned of eCAF in England seven years ago,

Children are to become the access point to the family in order to find out what’s going on – or what might happen in the future – behind closed doors. It’s not only families, either. The document refers in passing to the plans to develop the eCAF in adult services in order to bring together health and social care data on elderly people and those with mental health problems. There aren’t going to be many people left to protest once they start rolling eCAF out to everyone else.
Inverclyde is already well on the way to Getting it Right For Every Child, Citizen and Community, as can be seen on page 17 of its Single Silo “Nurturing” Agreement, but Glasgow really is miles ahead.
Grooming and interfering with children is a crime, no matter who the perpetrator, and R in SHANARRI may as well stand for Raped as it certainly doesn’t stand for Respected or Responsible. When we say no, we mean no, and if we’re asleep or drugged up on soma, we cannot possibly have consented.


Article in the Register

The Register likens the Named Person scheme to ContactPoint: Shadow state? Scotland's IT independence creeps forth
National ID and police surveillance plans from our friends in the north

The party’s general election manifesto pledged to oppose the Snooper’s Charter. A decade ago, SNP MPs were among the first to oppose New Labour’s identity card scheme.

But in Scotland, the SNP-run government is introducing, or at least considering, IT-led projects which some critics see as increasing surveillance, including a data-sharing system covering all children, an upgraded CCTV network run by the police, and a Scottish identity scheme.

The plan which has attracted the strongest opposition is the Named Person scheme, allocating a state-sector professional to every under-18 in Scotland. The scheme, which is already operating in some areas and will cover all of Scotland by August 2016, provides someone who can respond to requests for help from a child, as well as work with those who have concerns for his or her wellbeing.

It has similarities with ContactPoint, a New Labour system that would have kept tabs on all children in England if it hadn’t been abolished along with ID cards by the Tory-LibDem coalition government in 2011.
The Open Rights Group is a bit lukewarm and has obviously not followed developments as closely as we have.

Clementsmith thinks that the various plans have been triggered by attempts to save money and, in the case of Named Persons, to improve child protection rather than a desire to control people’s lives: “I don’t think the SNP is there saying: ‘We can watch what everyone is doing,’ but is sleepwalking into this,” he said.
Stupid or complicit? About child protection it is definitely NOT!

“When it comes to the machinery of government, it presses ahead with ideas without looking at consequences,” he added.
That bit is equally suspect. Of course they know what they are doing and have been warned, repeatedly, of the consequences for at least the past 10 years, well before the SNP was in government and got that power-over complex.

Meanwhile Alice joins the GIRFEC dots: Privacy laws have been changed so Named Persons can share personal sensitive and confidential information

Nor is it clear who wrote the Top Ten Named Person Facts on the Scottish Government website but there is not one of them which is accurate. Numbers four and five are particularly relevant.

Fact No 4

A Named Person will not directly access personal information...

But as the above article indicates named persons are currently handling and processing personal sensitive and confidential information.

Fact No 5

The creation of the Named Person service does not change privacy laws or infringe on human rights...

On the contrary, wellbeing indicators have been categorised that are so wide they cover every aspect of life, and the legislation has been put in place to change privacy laws that many would argue infringe on human rights. See below:

Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill: Policy Memorandum 2013

76. Currently, information about a child may be shared where the child is at a significant risk of harm. However, the role of the Named Person is based on the idea that information on less critical concerns about a child`s wellbeing must be shared if a full picture of their wellbeing is to be put together and if action is to be taken to prevent these concerns developing into more serious issues. Without the necessary power to share that kind of information, the Named Person will not be able to act as effectively as is intended.

77. Specific provisions in the Bill, therefore, set out arrangements on information sharing, to give professionals and Named Persons the power to share information about those concerns. People (Scotland) Bill/b27s4-introd-pm.pdf

All goes to show that the alleged facts the Scottish Government has published are complete lies. Not that we didn't already know that. Desperation seems to be kicking in, though, as people ask more of the right questions.


Head of Scottish parent teacher council says named person is a ‘red herring’

Holyrood Mag returns to Named Person scheme, as reported by NO2NP.

Children 1st and Barnardo's stand to gain financially from state snooping contracts and their jobs depend on public (i.e. our) money, so they just play the tune ordered by whichever piper happens to pay them the most. SPTC represents families who are already being adversely affected by the data rape and Tam Baillie the SCCYP is supposed to be upholding the UNCR, so it;s about time he read it, especially Article 16.

Head of Scottish parent teacher council says named person is a ‘red herring’

This month in an interview with a panel of children’s professionals, most of whom were largely outspoken proponents of the Named Person scheme, Eileen Prior, Executive Director of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council and a supporter of the NO2NP campaign, voiced her opposition to the legislation.

She said: “I don’t believe it is a good idea. A much better idea is the lead professional who will provide co-ordination between the various agencies working with a child. The lead professional focuses on children and families who are in need of support and addresses the issue everyone agrees needs to be addressed, of children falling between the cracks of different agencies and organisations.

She warned: “Named person, in my view, is a red herring which will undermine trust and cause issues between families, schools or other professionals, divert resources from those families most in need, add to professionals’ workload and lead to more families being drawn into the system unnecessarily.”
The SPTC represents PTAs across Scotland and its survey of members spoke for itself when it came to the Named Person scheme.

Even one of the proponents of the scheme, Tam Baillie, Children and Young People’s Commissioner says, said in the interview that despite supporting the scheme, he is concerned about data sharing risks. He admitted: “I have expressed concerns about the potential extent of the information-sharing requirements, though, as we need to make sure professionals share information in a way that both protects children and young people and respects their rights.”
Now there's a turn up for the books. Maybe Tam has finally reversed his melting chocolate fireguard status? Surely even he couldn't have missed the The Hopscotch Theatre debacle or the lies being told about data sharing by the government. Mind you he still has no interest in parents' and associated adults' right to privacy and has a poor grasp of the DPA.

Mr Baillie’s concerns are not unfounded. Recently NHS Dumfries and Galloway was found boasting about its new integrated database to allow easy access to children’s confidential medical records by schools, social workers and police.

A NO2NP spokesman commented at the time: “Don’t these people realise how creepy it is to be boasting about how easy they’ve made it for officials to access highly sensitive data on children?”
The SHANARRI Stasi model is more than a bit East German, as this BBC article demonstrates: Will Big Data lead to Big Brother?


SNP ministers secretly scrap expert steering group to oversee state guardians

Aileen under more pressure.

SNP ministers secretly scrap expert steering group to oversee state guardians

THE expert steering group set up to oversee the introduction of the SNP's state guardians has been secretly scrapped by Ministers.
At what turned out to be the final meeting in May last year, Police Scotland raised concerns that "high-risk children" were no longer the "focus" of the universal approach.

The minutes of the Girfec (Getting It Right For Every Child) Programme Board also make it clear that none of the members were expecting their work to be cancelled.
Simon Calvert of No To Named Person, which is spearheading the court challenge to the legislation, said: "It’s quite clear from the minutes that this board fully expected to meet again so its demise came out of the blue. Police concerns that the Named Person approach may move the focus away from high risk children was by far the most significant item discussed at what turned out to be their last meeting.

"If it is true that the Government closed the board down because they didn’t want it exposing the risks created by their Named Person scheme then this is a resignation issue for the minister.

"If child protection concerns expressed by senior police officers are being swept under the rug, what hope do we have that the Government will listen to anyone? Public anger against this scheme is growing as pilot schemes reveal the problems of implementing the Named Person. So far the Government seem bent on pursuing it at all costs and against all objections. It’s time they listened to parents, police, social workers, teachers and all the others who have serious questions about the Named Person."
Most of us would question whether the GIRFEC Programme Board members were 'experts' in anything but rentseeking. Take Martin Crewe of Barnardo's, for example, who was deputy chair of the scrapped group. Some HEF members will remember that he became distinctly hostile and non-engaging when asked about the money he and his 'charity' stood to gain from all the nice new intervention opportunities in comments on his GIRFEC cheerleading opinion column in the Law Society Journal back in 2013. After calling for debate and discussion, he ran away when Elaine posted some interesting charity accounts.


Named person policy group secretly scrapped

The Courier fails to get any answers and appears just to have regurgitated the Express article.

Named person policy group secretly scrapped

Come on Aileen! Time to tell us what's going on since the decision to scrap the steering group was allegedly made at ministerial level. Some of us are beginning to suspect hostility and non engagement on the part of Scottish Ministers towards the people of Scotland.


The Scottish government just like the Westminster government. There seem to be common failings in most governments.


GIRFEC Programe Board minutes: highlights and low points

Bizarrely, or more likely as a knee jerk reaction to the latest tranche of bad publicity, the Scottish Govt published the draft minutes of the final GIRFEC Programme Board meeting (held in September 2014) earlier today, along with the minutes of the first two meetings held back in 2011, neither of which were there yesterday! They all make for very interesting reading and confirm what we already knew (but a few sceptics hadn't wanted to believe).

Here are a few highlights, or low points, depending on your perspective as a highly paid rentseeker or a victim of state sanctioned data theft.

Going back to the very first meeting in February 2011 we find this SWOT analysis:

By March 2012 we see how every agency is to be expected to snoop on citizens and share personal data.

The importance of linking in with housing personnel was also raised, as they are often the only ones going into a house.
June 2012

Information Sharing

The board’s attention was brought to two emerging risks:

• Local development may lead to local information silos, meaning there may be difficulties sharing information where children cross geographical boundaries.

• Local solutions may not factor in third sector access for inclusion in secure information sharing systems.

In discussion, the board recognised that there was a legal emphasis on data protection rather than data sharing. There were two main approaches to a national electronic information sharing solution: a national database or minimum requirements for any system. Glasgow were looking at the possibility of sharing information across boundaries on looked after children using SEEMiS.

The board agreed that it gave its strongest encouragement that information sharing across boundaries and with the third sector should be included in local solutions.
Sept 2012

Consultation on Children and Young People Bill

Phil Raines gave an overview of the thinking behind the development of the proposals set out in the consultation on the Children and Young People Bill, due to close on 25 September 2012.

Points raised in discussion included:

• The tensions involved in the provision of a Named Person from age 5 for home educated children
Information Sharing: Risk to wellbeing leading to significant harm

Allan Moffat presented the paper on sharing concerns about a child’s wellbeing (GIRPB/07/07), highlighting the difficulties in sharing information where a concern is below the level of a child protection concern. The board agreed that engagement with the Scottish Information Commissioner should take place in order to open a discussion on the extent to which information could be shared without consent if there was a concern that there was a risk or potential risk to wellbeing.
Nov 2012

 There was a suggestion that we need to do more to “take the community with us”. Families, carers and children were not, it was said, switched on to GIRFEC. Boyd McAdam pointed out that it had been a conscious decision to focus first on embedding GIRFEC in the professional practice of all stakeholder delivery bodies, before raising awareness in the general public

 There was a need for a coherent and united national message on GIRFEC and how other areas knitted together. Messages even at
Ministerial level could do more to make clear that GIRFEC is the overarching programme.
In other words, deliberate concealment until it was too late. That chimes with recent third sector workshop sessions we have heard about in the south of Scotland where participants were told that the public really didn't need to know any of the detail as they might be confused. Even more worrying for our informant was when it was mentioned that the children were just the start of GIRFEC being rolled out to all citizens and community (but we already knew that). Seamless family planning and community planning 'partnerships' to make sure we all 'do it right' in an appropriate state approved manner. Infantilising the population and appointing a monitor class to report any dissent = sorted!

Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO)

Martin Crewe gave a verbal update. There had been a good meeting on 23 November 2012 with Ken MacDonald, some Board members, GIRFEC officials and information specialists. Discussion centred on the requirements of the Data Protection Act and ICO stressed neither the Act or ICO - should be seen as a barrier. Information about children should be shared appropriately when justified, but the rationale for doing so should be also be documented.


1. GIRFEC team to produce statement to encourage shift and Alan Small information shift : ICO to endorse this.
2. Joint work between ICO and GIRFEC on consent guidance including Alan Small examples to give reassurance on this.

It’s important that these messages are widely received/
Feb 2013

Allan Moffat asked Jane about information sharing. Jane said they used clear direction and intent, and were introducing a single approach. The work was being piloted.

Jane highlighted issues with GPs, due to their structures and contracts. In comparison they had very good relationships with the police. The Minister was keen that more work with GPs was done to break the barriers.

Carol Kirk said working with Housing was very productive as they had access to information and were supportive. Housing officers could identify long-term, low level neglect. Sharon made the point that people were still trying to get used to working together.
Boyd updated the Board on (GIRPB/09/08), the issues around sharing information without consent.

A joint statement has been agreed with the Information Commissioner’s Office which should help clarify situations where a child was on a pathway to risk to wellbeing as well as significant risk of harm. The statement should free up the way practitioners share information under existing law. However there were concerns on how best to disseminate the message in a way that did not produce an adverse reaction for stakeholders.
April 2013

Risk and Issue Register

Pauline gave an update on the paper to the Board (GIRPB/10/04/a and GIRPB/10/04/b). She added that no feedback had been received and talked through the Risks as follows:

 Risks 1 & 2 remained at 12, but action was being taken;
 Risk 3 was reduced due to the debate in Parliament; refocus
of the Board; and the aim of the Working Groups;
 The other three Risks remained as they were;
It was noted that Information Sharing was still Red.
That sounds a bit of a 'concern'.

Information Sharing Alan Small

Alan gave the Board an update on information sharing (GIRPB/10/07). He said that as an action from the last meeting, there
were concerns that the current threshold being used was too high and didn’t fit with early intervention. Advice from the ICO was tested with health partners and a statement on information sharing from the Information Commissioner’s Office was published on 8 April.
Andrew Sutherland added that this was very positive but that some bodies will be more risk averse than others. The Minister said that this was the first step to build upon and asked if there were any other points. Further points were made:

 Ralph Roberts mentioned dissemination and that there were a lot of messages from GP’s. Bob Fraser added that the Royal College had the final version of the statement but that they were still considering it within Scotland. The British Medical Association was still to consult with the General Medical Council

 The Minister added that we needed to figure out how to manage anxieties from some of the professions. Alan Small added a further report on reactions would be brought to the next meeting of the Board.
Sept 2013

National Parent Forum Scotland (NPFS)

The National Parent Forum fully supported the principles of GIRFEC. They see their role as disseminating information on GIRFEC to parents and representing their concerns to the Programme Board. Iain Ellis noted that it was hard to find parents who were making negative comments about the Named Person as those heard from pressure groups. The NPFS were keen to be more involved with the Board in future to develop these messages.

The NPFS believed that for GIRFEC implementation to succeed and prosper, parents and the wider public needed to be brought on board and that this should be addressed as a matter of urgency. They offered help in achieving this.

As we know, the NPFS, allegedly "set up to give Parent Councils and Parents an opportunity to discuss and raise educational issues of mutual interest or concerns at a national level" is just a government funded mouthpiece to channel propaganda.

Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill

The main current issues were the Named Person, with concerns expressed in relation to parental rights, privacy and information sharing and resources. The Minister reaffirmed the policy and indicated that a strong narrative was required around the Named Person.

Alan Small presented paper GIRPB/11/04. Concerns around the information sharing duties in Part 26 and 27 of the Bill had been expressed. He reiterated the following ICO advice:

 For the role of the Named Person to be effective, appropriate information sharing was required

 The need to move the threshold beyond child protection to take in concerns of child wellbeing, which should trigger effective and proportionate early intervention

 The ICO statement should be crucial in managing concern and in changing the culture of information exchange.
Alan offered an example of good practice on information sharing from Fife. Fife already had the Named Person in place and the police had been sharing information since April 2013. 400 cases per month had been raised. Teachers stated that they had not seen any increase in their workload and that there had not been any adverse comments from parents.
Here is the same Alan on the BBC responding Kaye Adams' question: Can you hang up the phone on a Named Person?

Feb 2014

Update on the Children and Young People Bill

The Minister told the Board a majority had passed the Bill on 19 February, with no ‘No’ votes recorded. The Bill was now due to receive Royal Assent. She mentioned the difficulties encountered at Stages 2 and 3. AS said there had been criticism over the information sharing provisions within the Named Person role, and discussions around concerns about the provision being too wide. This was amended to say that information should be shared if it ought to be shared. It also now stresses the importance of taking account of the children’s views.
The Minister said ongoing media coverage on information sharing and the Named Person raised issues of understanding and perception. She thanked all stakeholders again for their support and stressed the need for consistent messaging.

BM mentioned how CfE had been supported by a clear and focussed programme of engagement with parents. She suggested a light-touch guidance at establishment level could be developed, and encouraged through messages. She asked the Board if this was a role for the National Implementation Support Group (NISG) or for Education Scotland. AD added that core material was available and that Education Scotland could encourage its use at parent’s evenings through the ADES and NPFS networks. The Minister added there was evidence from enquiries from constituents that clearer messages were needed.

Risk Register

PD gave a short update to the Board on the Risk Register (GIRPB/12/05). The key updates were that the Bill had been passed, and that Named Person and information-sharing issues were still sensitive, and had been marked as such in the Risk Register. The Register was not for further sharing.
May 2014

MC (Martin Crewe) added that we needed to move from a permissive to directive approach on information sharing, as there was no national system to implement information sharing we needed to make sure individual systems were compatible
And finally Sept 2014 (draft)

MG spoke to three aspects of Information Sharing that require consideration:

Policy/Legal, Cultural and Technical.

PD advised that Alan Small is leading on IS work and PR explained that table-top exercises are being organised to practise working through IS issues from start to finish. He sees the three main components as being:

 Picking up information – i.e. identifying information relevant to wellbeing

 Sending information – transferring data securely to the appropriate people

 Receiving information – mechanisms for securely receiving, storing and accessing data

The Minister spoke to the progress being made in Ayrshire, in terms of information sharing systems. PD said that while the approach in Ayrshire through Ayrshare is not suitable for every organisation, it could still prove useful as a learning tool.
Implementation Update

Glasgow City is working on Information Sharing processes using the new SEEMIS developments. The GIRFEC SEEMIS project should allow other areas to participate in these developments. ADES will take a leading role in this work.
And we all know about SEEMiS.

It's also worth reiterating that the ICO statement on which the Snooperati rely (and which we now know was written by the GIRFEC Board and rubber stamped by the ICO's Scottish branch office) has never been subject to proper legal scrutiny and would not stand up in other parts of the UK, despite the Data Protection Act being UK wide and any amendment thereof reserved to Westminster.

UPDATE: Manx citizens have better protection under the same UK wide Data Protection Act than their Scots counterparts. Now why would that be the case? This question, and others, need to be asked until we get some proper answers.


Alongside some serious debate on Iain Gray's World Toilet Day 'motion' in the Scottish Parliament yesterday, you will find this interesting exchange between Liam McArthur MSP and Aileen Campbell regarding the surprise demise of the GIRFEC Programme Board. Aileen is sounding increasingly desperate and should really be replaced by another toilet roll before her wellbeing is irreparably damaged.

1. Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands) (LD): To ask the Scottish Government for what reason it has abolished the getting it right for every child programme board.

The Minister for Children and Young People (Aileen Campbell): In order to develop our getting it right for every child policy, the Scottish Government established a programme board and a strategic implementation group. The board’s role was to help shape the policy in relation to the drafting of the duties in part 4 and 5 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and it met 14 times from February to September 2014. The national implementation support group has responsibility for oversight of implementation and continues to meet. We recently refreshed its membership to take us into the significant phase of the implementation of the new statutory duties.

Liam McArthur: As the minister said, the programme board was set up to oversee the implementation of GIRFEC and, according to the Scottish Government website, it “drove improvements in outcomes for children and young people in Scotland by embedding the GIRFEC approach across relevant services.” At the weekend, the Scottish Government made it clear to the press that “a decision was made at ministerial level to wind up the GIRFEC Programme Board after May 2014.”

Does the minister think that it was acceptable for ministers to take such a decision without having any recourse to the Scottish Parliament, which had responsibility for scrutinising and approving the GIRFEC legislation?

Aileen Campbell: As I said, the programme board was established to take us through the legislative phase of getting it right for every child. After the 2014 act was passed, I took the decision to look at options for maintaining strategic engagement and driving forward the implementation of GIRFEC. The programme board’s job was done. We had got through the legislative phase, and I took the strategic decision to focus on implementation. The national implementation support group is there to provide that strategic engagement and to drive forward the implementation of GIRFEC. There was consensus on that decision at the last meeting of the programme board in September 2014, and it was recognised that we needed to have the right people on the group to drive forward the implementation of GIRFEC. While the board wound down, there was continued emphasis on implementation, and that was done through the national implementation support group.

Liam McArthur: I am grateful to the minister for that further clarification, but I want to press her on the point about when and how the Parliament was informed about a decision on a programme board that the Parliament was responsible for setting up. Despite the fact that the minister has said that consultation took place with the programme board members, the Parliament does not appear to have been informed of a decision in which it had a very legitimate interest.

Aileen Campbell: I reiterate that we had gone through the legislative phase and, to maintain the strategic engagement with the sector, agencies and other people, I decided to focus on implementation. That is why the national implementation support group continued. It had sat under the programme board, but it continued so that we could drive forward the GIRFEC agenda.

I can make sure that the member is furnished with all the details of the meetings, if he so wishes, so that he has the clarity that he seeks. I am determined to get the implementation of the legislation, which is important, right, which is why the focus of our attention changed from the legislative phase that the programme board was charged with to implementation. We decided that we did not need both organisations, and we decided to maintain our focus on implementation, which is the role of the NISG.

Liam McArthur: On implementation, I am looking at the minutes from the programme board meeting in May 2014. Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham of Police Scotland “raised issues surrounding ensuring high-risk children remained a focus.”

The minister will recall that, even among those of us who were prepared to accept the case for named persons, one of the key concerns was that attention and resources should not be diverted away from those who have genuine welfare issues in order to address wider concerns in relation to wellbeing issues. What reassurances have been given to Police Scotland and other members of the programme and implementation boards that there has not been a redirection of focus away from those high-risk children?

Aileen Campbell: The whole thrust of getting it right for every child, as we have learned from the Highland model, is that it allows us to focus and to be more strategic with our resources, and to make sure that we are getting it right for children who show that level of need and require additional support. There is no retracting from our focus on trying to do things better for a group of vulnerable children. That is part of the whole GIRFEC approach. It is about getting it right for every child every time. The GIRFEC approach, with the named person behind it, is about doing just that and using our resources in an effective, strategic way. The Highland model shows that that works.

As I said, at the last meeting of the programme board in September 2014, there was consensus among the board members about winding down the board. I thanked everybody there for their input and efforts to get us through the legislative phase, but it was clear that we needed to turn our attention to the effective implementation of an important policy that is designed to ensure that our children get the best outcomes, which they deserve.

I will make the minutes of the meetings available on the Government’s website. I will also ensure that we give members any reassurances that they want if they want to get in touch with me or write to me. If they want a further briefing, we will ensure that that happens. However, there is no hiding from the fact that GIRFEC is an important plank of Government policy. We had a programme board that helpfully got us through the legislative phase. It is correct that our attention is on getting it absolutely right for children. That requires adequate implementation, and that is why our focus turned towards implementation via the national implementation support group. Police Scotland and others who have contributed to our work through the programme board are involved in that.

I am happy to share any information if the member so wishes, but the thrust of our efforts towards implementation is correct.

Liz Smith (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Con): Is there not a case for getting it right for the public? The minutes that were published were very clear in telling us exactly what was going on. Now that that board is no longer in existence, we are not in a position to know what is going on. Is it not time that the Scottish Government published all the information and advice that it is being given about the implementation of GIRFEC and named persons?

Aileen Campbell: I understand that the member does not share my views on the GIRFEC approach, but I am absolutely committed to that policy. I know that it is the right thing to do for our children, to make sure that we have much more co-ordinated and coherent approaches to helping them. If there is any information that the member requires, we will look into those queries.

I have made clear that the programme board was there to fulfil a function, which was to steer us through the legislative phase. Implementation is where our focus is now, and we will make sure that we are driving that forward for the benefit of children. I understand that the member does not share the aspirations that we set out through GIRFEC, but it is the right approach to take.

We are doing our best for children, making sure that we get it right for every child every time. We are using our partners across the health authorities, local authorities, police, social work, the Care Inspectorate and many different third sector organisations, working collaboratively in partnership to do our very best for children. If the member has any bones to pick with that, she can get in touch with me and I will let her see any information that she wishes to see.

I know that our approach is right. We have focused on the legislation; we are focusing now on implementation. I am content that we are doing all that we can in an open and transparent manner.
Iain Gray clearly isn't the only one who talks shit.

UPDATE: Watch Aileen in action in glorious technicolour on the Parliament website.