The ‘Named Person’ debate: The case against – Maggie Mellon

by | 10 Apr 2017


Named Person, Getting It Right For Every Child, Children and Young People (Scotland) Act
2014, parents.

Corresponding author:

Maggie Mellon,Independent consultant on social work practice and public policy.

My four main reasons for opposing the Named Person

  • Firstly, there is no evidence to support introducing Named Persons in legislation.
  • Secondly, the legislation does not say what it claims that it does.
  • Thirdly, this is neither early intervention nor prevention, but it is ‘net widening’.The threshold for intervening in children and families’ lives has been lowered significantly from ‘significant harm’ to any concern about wellbeing without justification. The presumption in favour of sharing intimate information on this lower threshold is in itself a big risk to child and family welfare.
  • Fourthly’ the state makes a lousy parent, and it needs to get its own house in order for the children who are looked after and those who are known to be in need.

My first point – where is the evidence? There is no local, national or international research evidence to support the imposition of Named Persons for all children. The Getting It Right For Every Child pilot in Highland Council did not provide any robust research evidence for ‘named persons ’,or indeed much in the way of actual research evidence for GIRFEC. The ‘evidence’ quoted is often anecdotal and much of it based on the professionals’ opinions. Claims of ‘success’ and of parental satisfaction are based on people in the mainstream services doing what they are supposed to do anyway. In fact when the resources for this whole project are questioned, the answer is exactly that -Named Person duties are just part of existing responsibilities, so there is no extra cost.Why then do we need this legislation?


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