Scottish Named Person Scheme hits setback

It seems some time ago that the Scottish Named Person scheme was announced and, not living in Scotland myself, I assumed the scheme had been quietly dropped at some point. It seems however that this plan, to ensure every child in Scotland has a named professional (teacher, health care worker, social worker etc) with responsibilities for their welfare, has been merely delayed due to legal challenges.

The Supreme Court ruled this week that the scheme needs amending as it breaches rights to privacy and family life under European Human Rights laws. This is a welcome judgement. The proposed law is an astonishing overreach of state power, giving the state snooping rights, including the inevitable leaky obsessive bureaucratic data collection that goes along with that, over every child in Scotland.

In my GP work I am involved in Child Safeguarding and I am confident in the efficacy of external intervention in some cases of neglect and abuse. However, I am constantly aware of the risk of normalising state intervention and of mission creep and feel that maintaining a constant state of uneasiness and self-reflection is necessary to prevent this. Intervention in the lives of others should be an exception with strong qualifying conditions rather than the norm.

Sadly this intervention (‘think of the children’) reflects the broader conceit of statists everywhere I look, including sectors such as healthcare organisation, teaching and concepts such as democracy itself – that is the idea that an educated elite knows best and that individuals are not to be trusted. This institutional mistrust applies to parents, the poor and even professionals themselves in the way they are regulated.

Freedom supporters therefore need to promote and support the concept of the individual as the default person to make decisions about themselves in opposition to the notion that the default is state intervention and mistrust of free thought and agency.


  1. This scheme, which should be called something like ‘the Child and Parents Monitoring Scheme’, is of course, the next step towards the abolition of the family, the unspoken Communist ideal.

    It is however, also a natural progression of the ‘multi-agency approach’, a buzzword since the early 1990s (at least) for the various Organs of the State to gang up on the individual and the nexus of true social existence. Whereas once organs were kept in silos forbidden to talk to eaco other, a mild check on their powers, this is now going.



  2. Yes, Mr Ed, and these growing intrusions into families’ private lives — and the underlying agenda to remove children from the care of parents altogether — are frightening. Many lives have been ruined, here as well as there, by the attitude that parents are guilty until proven innocent.

    I’m sure we all remember the horror with which Sir Humphrey met the idea that the parents should be allowed to choose their children’s schools themselves. Shocking! “Parents are the last people who should be allowed to bring up children!”



  3. Mind you, I suppose that in principle, this scheme is nothing more than an extension of the Health Visitor programme, which already covers children up to the age of 5.

    Here’s some newspeak from the NHS on Health Visitors.

    “Safeguarding and protecting children

    As a health visitor, you’ll have an important role in working with other organisations to safeguard and protect children. You’ll be trained in recognising the risk factors, triggers of concern, and signs of abuse and neglect in children. You’ll often be the first to recognise whether a child is at risk of harm, and know whether action needs to be taken, and what should be done to protect them. You’ll also ensure families receive the best possible support during formal safeguarding arrangements.”



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