• STV
  • MySTV

Plans to assign every Scottish child a state guardian under fire

Aileen Campbell defended the Scottish Government proposals, after they were branded a 'snooper's charter'.

Quality close-up of child's hand being held by adult.

Controversial plans for a named guardian to be appointed for every youngster in Scotland will help provide a "safety net for those who need one", the Children's Minister has insisted.

Aileen Campbell defended the Scottish Government proposals, after they were branded a "snooper's charter" by a former church leader earlier this week.

Six former moderators of the Free Church of Scotland and the current moderator the Reverend Angus Howat stepped in to write to First Minister Alex Salmond, urging him to "restore some common sense" to the proposed new laws.

Now the Church of Scotland has claimed the change risked diminishing the role of parents "with no obvious benefit for the most vulnerable in society".

But writing in The Herald newspaper, Ms Campbell said appointing a named person for every child would help "provide a safety net for those who need one".

She stated: "No child should fall through the net, whether because their parents don't know where to seek help or because professionals aren't clear where responsibilities lie and whom they should be speaking to when concerns emerge."

The proposal that every child should have a named person appointed for them is included in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, which is expected to gain its final approval at Holyrood next week.

The legislation sets out that a named person, such as a health worker or a head teacher, would be responsible for safeguarding a child's welfare and liaising with their family.

The Law Society of Scotland has already warned it could interfere with respect for family and private life, and conflict with human rights, while the Faculty of Advocates said the legislation included an "indiscriminate provision for possible interference in the lives of all children".

Ms Campbell said that "as a mother and Minister for Children and Young People, my overriding priority is to improve safeguards and protect Scotland's children".

She insisted that the Bill would "go some way to helping us to meet the aim of giving all of Scotland's children the best start in life".

She said that "misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the named person role have given rise to extraordinary claims that the legislation will introduce 'state snoopers' with a legal right to 'order monitors into people's homes"'.

But she stressed: "The Bill gives the named person no such right. The individual, usually a health visitor and later a senior or head teacher known to the family, will ensure every child, along with his or her family, can access some extra support if they need it."

She argued that the named person system, which is already in place in the Highland Council area, gives families a clear point of contact if they have worries about their child, and also "allows agencies to respond more promptly to parents who raise concerns about their child's well-being and reduce any risks of greater problems later".

The Children's Minister said: "I have consistently said that parents and carers are the best people to raise their children. Professionals and parents may identify where concerns about a child's well-being are emerging and the named person can offer initial help. But the parent is under no obligation to engage with the named person or the service offered."

But the Reverend Sally Foster-Fulton, convener of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council, told The Herald: "The family is the fundamental unit of society. The concept of a named person diminishes the role of parents with no obvious benefit for the most vulnerable in society."

She added: "MSPs must ask themselves: will this proposal do anything other than reduce the time professionals such as nurses and school staff have to support children who really need help, without providing a useful service to anyone else?"

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.