Weasel wellbeing words mean no new rights for young people


Weasel wellbeing words mean no new rights for young people

The fake news narrative suggests that children aged from 12 to 15 now have the same rights as their parents and over-16s to act on their own behalf in order to have their additional needs identified and suitably met, but this is categorically not the case.

The exercise of these allegedly new rights by under-16s is in fact conditional upon their submitting to assessments by ‘professionals’ to determine their capacity, as well as any potential adverse effects on their ‘wellbeing’.

Such assessments are based around state-defined ‘SHANARRI’ indicators, which are open to highly subjective interpretation and have already been deemed ‘notably vague’ by the UK Supreme Court.

In other words, a strict gate-keeping system will be maintained in relation to young people’s rights to have their additional support needs assessed and addressed. They will be prevented from using their rights if/when a gatekeeper considers they lack capacity and/or it might hinder their wellbeing journey as mapped by the state.
In another disturbing departure from genuine respect for children’s rights, the same SHANARRI assessors will also have the power to reduce the learning hours of schoolchildren where ‘relevant circumstances’ apply, namely where they consider that a pupil’s wellbeing would be adversely affected, or where it is ‘impracticable’ to ensure the prescribed hours are made available.
Meanwhile, these same children are presumed – with no assessment of potential adverse consequences – to have capacity to hand over their own and other family members’ personal information, and compelled to complete intrusive ‘wellbeing’ surveys in power-over school settings, without informed consent (even when they have been expressly opted-out by their parents). Double standards or what?
It seems the Scottish Parliament once again failed to notice the blindingly obvious, legislating weakly with weasel wellbeing words, as opposed to giving meaningful effect to children’s rights under the UNCRC.