19/02/2014 Newsnight Scotland


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caused by that on and off election issue. But that is history. Thank


you very much. Thank you. Tonight on Newsnight Scotland, who


is in charge of your child's well-being? MSPs voted to appoint


so- called named persons from the NHS and councils to monitor every


young person's well-being from birth to 18. Is this practical support for


children and parents or an imposition of the state into family


life? Good evening. The Children and Young


People's Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament a few hours ago.


It's a wide ranging bill which, among other things, entitles all


three and four-year olds to 600 hours of free nursery care. And


allows young people to remain in care until they are 21. So far, so


uncontroversial. However, the proposal for the state to assign a


named person to monitor every single child in Scotland from birth to


adulthood has proved more contentious.


11-week-old Caleb Ness, shaken to death by his father. Daniel Greaves


was five years old when her mother's partner killed her. And


other killed by her mother's boyfriend. And Brandon, dead at the


age of two, mother cleared, but partner Jill are culpable homicide.


Every time there is a part -- every time there is a case like this, the


response seems the case, the agencies involved have shared


information, should have acted sooner, this should never happen


again, but it does. The bill tries to tackle cases like those by


nominating a council or health service worker to look after the


interests of every child. But it also extends free childcare and


school meals. It strengthens the law on school


closures. And it allows children in care to be looked after up until the


age of 21, if they want it. The government says this is a


landmark law, 600 hours free macro key saving families an average of an


hundred pounds per year per child. Ingham ageing with beer and --


engaging with parents are wanting to make sure that those 600 hours can


be delivered in a more flexible way, which is why this is important,


and at the other end of the age spectrum, making sure we give


greater rights and support to young looked after care leavers, which is


why from next year, young people leaving care will be able to stay on


in that setting until 21. Singing macro -- SINGING.


Kinship carers looking after children were protesting outside


Holyrood today, saying they did not get the same recognition or money


that foster parents get. I did not get any support, so this bill coming


here seeing extra support, I do not get any, so we are is the extra?


This is the future of Scotland. Not a bit of rubbish in the street. Our


kids. And this afternoon, MSPs began a detailed examination of the law


and amendments put forward to the idea of an interior called the State


Guardian by opponents. The named person policy feels the criteria of


what makes good law, tips the balance away from parental and


family responsibilities towards the state, not properly costed and it


will be open to legal challenge. Some believe this measure is


absolutely necessary to identifying and protecting vulnerable children


and that those who believe this is not required and can interfere in


family life. I have no objection to a named person provision, but


equally, I would hope that I do not believe it is the role of the state


to bring up old children. And the plan has been opposed by a number of


churches and religious groups. Why? What happens if the named person,


the headteacher, then disagrees with a stance that parents have taken?


The parents may not be doing anything illegal or unlawful, but


perhaps if there is a conflict in some way that the parents are


bringing up their particular child, does the named person have a right


to interfere with how the parents bring up their children? What other


kinds of issues where you think there might be conflict between a


parent or guardian? I guess particularly, perhaps in areas of


health provision, perhaps if there was examples of vaccinations, or


health advice, or perhaps areas where the parents, particularly


objecting to something that the school wants to do. And again, they


might be within their rights to object, but the problem is with the


named person was to take issue with that. The government insists there


is no intention to undermine families. We have been clear that


for the vast majority of families across Scotland, that parents of the


most important influence in their child's life, providing plenty of


love and support or their children and that most children go on to


succeed in life, but we know that parents and families may have


different challenges they face and may need that extra support, so this


is about providing a mechanism for them to access that support and for


the most vulnerable families providing much better and


coordinated support. The trouble is, in all these cases, vulnerable


families were already in contact with the police, social services and


health boards. Will having one named person really make any difference?


I'm joined from Aberdeen by the Chief Executive of Children First,


Anne Houston. From Edinburgh by the Director of the Royal College of


Nursing in Scotland Theresa Fyfe. And by the Minister of St Peter's


Free Church of Scotland in Dundee, David Robertson.


Anne Houston, first of all, can we ask you to explain how this works?


Under what circumstances would either a child or parent go to this


named person? The important thing is a named person is a single point of


contact, someone the child and parents or carers will already know.


That they can go to if, for example, a parent is looking for


support for their child, perhaps a service, perhaps a few agencies


involved and not speaking to each other, or they just need signposted.


That is the kind of thing that they can talk to the named person, who


can help them access services. A child also can talk to a named


person, for example, at Children First, our service sometimes has


parents calling us who are a bit concerned, looking for support, but


perhaps do not feel it is serious enough to go to, for example, a


social worker, or police, but basically need an opportunity to


talk it food, to feel confident and get the help needed. -- talk it


through. It is about keeping the child at the centre, about their


well-being, and working whenever poor -- whenever possible in


partnership with the parent. If the named person is a teacher, how


different is it on the waiters at the moment? You would expect that,


if the child is having problems, he would speak to their favourite


teacher? they certainly can, the differences this being on the face


of the bill, is a level of authority that that named person has to make


things happen, to ensure that whatever is needed moves forward.


And it is also a form of early intervention that actually reduces


some things getting more serious, because there has been a lot of talk


about it being important to target vulnerable children. Of course, it


is important vulnerable children, their well-being is supported, but


important those people are available to provide that targeted service and


any child can become vulnerable at some stage. Any parents can need


support. The other side of this, will this named person, so-called,


have any powers that, for example, a teacher now does not have? They will


have a level of authority to ensure other agencies respond, that


information appropriate and necessary information is shared and


that the well-being of the child is kept central and the parents, in


fact, will have a right to expect that of that named person. David


Robertson, what is wrong with that? Not a lot wrong with it. A lot of,


first of all, the whole bill I would support, and the idea of a named


person for some children, I think, is a good idea. I problem is some of


the language used in the bill and also, but particularly, in the idea


of a named person for every child. If it is going to be more than


nominal, I do not how the state could afford it. I suspect it will


not be properly resourced. The other thing I would want to know, as a


parent of a 16-year-old, why does my 16-year-old need a state Guardian,


need a named person? Anne Houston, what is the idea? A lot of parents


will feel like that. No matter how you rationalise this, sorry, I am a


parent, personally good, why should the state be appointing, if not a


state Guardian, then this named person? I do not need that, and


neither do my children. And that is fine, and many parents and children,


thankfully, will not need a named person. But will get it anyway X


macro am ready there they know they can turn to -- but they will get it


anyway! They will be there if they needed. It is that they may be


proactively looking into their life, which is what is assumed, adjust


their death needed. A lot of parents will see, that they understand


workers have responsibility for the children, but the idea a state is


appointing a particular individual who, at any time, I sell for my


child can go to, just feels like they are trying to take over family


life. It seems such a pity, because it is additional support, an


additional resource that is there, if and when it is needed, rather


than being foisted on anyone, it is extra support. We are all keen to


make sure the children are looked after, get the services needed, are


supported if things are difficult. This is just about ensuring that


takes place. Theresa Fyfe, what are your problems? Nothing with the bill


at the moment. We welcome the Scottish governor implementing the


named person for zero to five, which health visitors, what is sorry is


the language seems to think this is something done to children and


families, rather than enabling and empowering relationships, which


health visitors have with families already. The point she was making,


that I want to reiterate, is it is we have the model developed in the


Highlands, implemented already, developed when listening to parents,


which is someone that can be that single point of contact, can have


that oversight of services, and enable us to actually navigate weird


we need to be. That is what was asked for and with a model came for.


For me, health visitors are about working with families and parents to


ensure that the health and well-being of the child is at the


heart of everything that is done, and we do the best for children.


What about David Robertson's point that this might be appropriate for


some but not all children? Targeting takes us away from this being a


universal service. The lessons we have learned from the cases that


were referred to earlier is that when we have not had that clarity of


who is that named person, that single point of contact, they has


not been good communication between all those service providers, there


has not been clear messaging and they has not been a person who has


had a child right in the centre. But working with parents and families,


not working against them. It is about making sure no child or family


falls through the net. David Robertson, what do you make of that?


I question whether you are ever going to be able to make sure


everyone does not fall through the net. The Highland experiment has


largely been a good one and I think that the notion of better


communication between health care professionals is fine but I still


come back to what was said earlier, saying it was fine your daughter


does not need one but she is going to get one whether I like it or not.


My fear is this starts off very well intentioned but further down the


road, the state takes more authority and uses the named person for that


purpose. Like what? Explain what you mean. There was a similar experiment


in the Isle of Man which basically collapsed. Why did it collapse?


Because social services could not cope and it became a human rights


issue as well. What the Evangelical Alliance was saying is true. What


happens when the parents wishes clash with that of the state. What


is happening here is the state's authority is being given precedence


over the parents' . If their child goes to the named person, and this


is not a matter of abuse or anything like that, they have had a falling


out, and the parents take one view, who wins? Is that what you are


suggesting? No, that is probably a trivialisation of it. Let's say, for


example, the named person decides it would be in the best interest of the


child to take extra nursery care and the parent does not want that. Who


has the authority? My concern is with the whole language. This bill


treats children in isolation rather than as part of a family unit. I


know there are many children who need this kind of support and for me


it is ludicrous to say, you have a universal benefit or a universal


service for all. You don't need that. Not everyone needs to see a


cancer specialist, not everyone needs to seek particular types of


health care professionals. I think this is a mistake with the resources


could be better used placed on many children. There are children who


can't be in care because there is not enough provision. I don't


believe the government has the amount of money to make this work.


Are people going to be trained up? Are enough people going to be


trained up for this to be practical? The point about resources is


important because if we don't have the resources, it will be something


that is not going to work. Going by government's estimated out with two


implement this, we know we will need approximately 450 health visitors on


top of the current workload at the moment. We have no commitment at the


moment that the government is going to find that number of health


visitors and we are hoping they will do so because not to fund the


training of health visitors will put at risk the very heart of what this


bill is about to include the health and well-being of children. You are


saying they don't have the resources to implement this right now? No, the


moment they don't, we are saying when the bill is to be taken into


implementation, we are asking the government to commit to fund a


number of health visitors that will be required to provide this service.


Can I just coming? This is the first stage of the bill going through. We


then go into a period of looking at guidance and the practicalities to


make it work. But some of the evidence coming out of Highland is a


production with a bit of time of putting this in place, there is a


reduction on the need for the kind of crisis resources so that it


spreads the resources more widely. But the guidance is the next stage


when the detail will be worked out to make it possible to implement.


What is your response to the point that David Robertson was making that


further down the line, it is quite easy to imagine quite serious


disputes arising which are not legal disputes between the view of a named


person and a parent? I think it is important to remember that these


named people are people that parents and children already know. They are


not going to become some people doing something very different, but


they will have an increased authority if they need to move


things forward to support a working partnership with them. They are not


someone who is not already working with the children. But they are not


necessarily known to the parents and if there was a difference of opinion


between the named person, the point David Robertson is trying to make,


if there is a difference of opinion between the named person and the


parent. And the parents would not necessarily know the named person


very well. But there is no intention in removing any of the rights of


parents. As I think I said earlier, it is giving parents more rights to


expect... David Robertson, very briefly. That phrase, there is no


intention of, when making laws is a disastrous phrase to be using


because they may well be no intention but that question has not


been answered. The whole discussion has been based on the idea that if


you know the teacher, the nursery worker and the health David,


everything is fine. But what if you know a teacher that you don't get on


with, you don't agree, there is a fundamental difference in the ethos


of the way that child will grow up. Now a quick look at tomorrow's front


pages. The Scottish Daily Mail. David Bao we want Scotland to say in


the UK. That's all from me. More news is


always on BBC Scotland's website and Good Morning Scotland is on Radio


Scotland tomorrow morning at 6.00am. Good night.


A very good evening. Some wind and rain but that is going to happen


overnight so tomorrow, especially in the afternoon, the weather should


not be all that bad when the wind and rain clears into the North Sea.


Is three o'clock. Take your umbrella because there will be plenty showers


across Northern Ireland and western Scotland. This is one area through


the lowlands where we could see shower after shower and it will not


be such a great day. Into England and fewer showers around. But if you


catch one of these, it will be quite heavy. The further east you are, the


more likely you are to hang onto the dry weather. In London, we should


have bright conditions for most of the day. For the south-west, pretty


breezy around the coast. Gusts of 40 mph or 50 mph. But the windy


conditions are going to stay with us


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