BY SCO Admin | June 4 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

11-ARCHBISHOP-CUSHLEY

Concerns Scottish Government named person scheme interferes with family life

An appeal is underway about a legal challenge to a Scottish Government Bill that the Archbishop Leo Cushley fears threatens ‘unwarranted interference in family life.’

The Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh’s warning last year about the bill has been revisited while an appeal hearing against the scheme, part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, at the Inner House of the Court of Session is ongoing this week. The scheme assigns every child in Scotland a state employee to supervise its development.

The legal challenge has been brought by The Christian Institute, Christian charity CARE, Tymes (The Young ME Sufferers) Trust, the Family Education Trust and concerned parents.

“The common good of society depends on the stability of family life,” Archbishop Cushley said in April last year. “We share the widely expressed reservations of many who fear some provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act could permit unwarranted interference in family life due to the broad nature of the powers of the ‘named persons service’ and the low threshold set for triggering the sharing of information about children among state agencies.”

The archbishop said that while he recognised ‘the good intentions behind such efforts, we hope the Government will act in a proportionate and focused way, with due respect to the autonomy and privacy of the family.’ He added that the threshold for ‘intervening in family life’ should be only when ‘objective and significant cause’ is shown.

The scheme is part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, which was passed at Holyrood last year.  In January, judge Lord Pentland dismissed the judicial review of the scheme, the decision that is now being appealed.

Simon Calvert of The Christian Institute, the group behind the appeal, said: “The named person is, in effect, legally empowered to police the happiness of Scottish children.

“That is an outrage. Thousands of people across Scotland know it is an outrage, and that’s why they’ll all be hoping our judicial review succeeds.”

The hearing is expected to conclude today, with the result expected later in the year.

 

—Anyone wishing to  lodge concerns about the named person scheme can take part in an online petition at o2np.org

 

—ian@sconews.co.uk

 

 

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