The campaign, against controversial plans to appoint state guardians for every child in Scotland, stepped up with a public meeting in Montrose.
Part of a series of meetings, being held across the country, the No To Named Person (NO2NP) campaign aims to increase pressure against the Scottish Government proposals and the No2NP Roadshow was in Montrose on Wednesday, November 26, in The Park Hotel.
NO2NP has challenged the provisions contained in the Children and Young People Act in a Judicial Review at the Court of Session in Edinburgh. Under the legislation, more than a million children in Scotland, aged under 18, will be assigned a “named person” (someone other than their parents) - a health visitor or head teacher - who will have the power to “advise” and “inform” the child or discuss or raise matters about the child with the relevant authorities.
The campaigners claim the Scottish Government are acting illegally and exceeding their powers, by setting up the scheme to appoint state monitors or guardians in direct contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights. The legal challenge is being contested through the Judicial Review, spearheaded by the Christian Institute (CI), the Christian charity CARE, and the Family Education Trust, with the support of academics and individual parents. The case is expected to cost in excess of £50,000.
CI Director Colin Hart said: “We have backing from a coalition of organisations and individuals, from many different fields, and from throughout the country. They do not want the state invading their living rooms.”
Speakers Lesley Scott and Alison Preuss, expressed their very real concerns about the new legislation. Leading human rights QC Aidan O’Neill argued the case in court against the new law. He said: “What is startling about the proposed named person service in the Bill, is that it appears to be predicated on the idea that the proper primary relationship that children will have for their well-being and development, nurturing and education, is with the State, rather than within their families and with their parents. The further remarkable aspect is that it is intended to be universal in scope – applying to every child regardless of any assessment of need. Every child in Scotland is to be assigned a named person, whether or not problems are on the radar.”