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    Children and Young People Bill ‘gets it wrong’ and heralds a new totalitarian Scotland

    30th April 2013 | Home Ed in the News | Law & Policy | Schoolhouse

    The introduction to the Scottish Parliament of the Children and Young People (aka CHYP & PIN) Bill earlier this month has been accompanied by a predictable fanfare of what can only be described (by those of us who have done our ‘joined up’ homework over the past decade and more) as propaganda designed to fool the sheeple. For those not yet up to speed with the incontrovertible facts, the Bill’s principal aim is not to protect the rights of children and young people, nor is it to ensure the safety of those at greatest risk of significant harm; rather, it is designed to establish universal citizen surveillance via parent licensing and early interference, effectively ensuring state oversight and ownership of all children in Scotland.

    According to the Pinocchio PR put out at vast public expense by the wellbeing wonks (well meaning or otherwise), the Bill is allegedly designed to ‘get it right for every child’, ensure that every child matters and that  no child is left behind, but don’t all such slogans sound more than a tad familiar, as well as being overly simplistic and inevitably doomed to failure? They certainly should, for the agenda that drives each of them has been mooted many times before; indeed it has even been put into practice with catastrophic consequences. Hitler evidently thought he was ‘getting it right’ as well, but we in the ‘free world’ begged to differ and many of our fathers and grandfathers paid the ultimate price for defending the fundamental freedoms we should surely all still hold sacrosanct. Or have most memories been erased and brains washed clean away?


    Alas, it’s now official. Scotland is heading down the road to totalitarianism as the government fails to attend to the lessons of history and presumes to know what is ‘right for every child’ using crude generic indicators that can be loosely interpreted to suit the state dictated agenda of the state appointed busybody (aka ‘Named Person’) who will  be imposed on every family without their consent, and from whose tick box tyranny there will be no escape. Just following orders, they’ll say, and their training will have been comprehensive (we know this as we have seen the evidence of GIRFEC-infected early years and teacher training materials which have already led some sentient human beings to drop out of such courses).


    Not that we haven’t been pointing out the gravity of this threat to civil liberties for years (since the late 1990s, in fact, as this is not a Scottish construct as has been repeatedly mis-stated but a Blairite universal surveillance project with its roots in Lisbon). The mainstream media, however, have been lazily content to print government disinformation verbatim with only Kenneth Roy of the Scottish Review scraping away the child protection veneer to reveal the true agenda.


    And so it has come down to this: a Named Person imposed by the state on every child without consent and without opt-out (whose function, according to the Bill “cannot be carried out by a parent of the child or young person” – nice, eh?); sensitive personal data on every child, every family member (and even every pet)  gathered, stored on a potentially illegal database and shared without informed consent on a ‘womb to tomb’ basis; failure to respect the right to privacy and family life; failure to respect, and deliberate attempts to undermine or overrule, parental choices and informed decisions that may not accord with the state’s often skewed priorities.


    In short, the Scottish Government is about to grant a licence to every state sponsored Tom, Dickhead or Harriet to bully, cajole and coerce families into following a path not necessarily of their own choosing in order to meet the state’s pre-defined outcomes. Rather than ensure that truly vulnerable children (rightly defined as ‘at risk of significant harm’) are protected, ‘they’ (i.e. the vested interests who are paid out of our taxes) have unilaterally shifted the vulnerability goal posts to ensure that ‘every child’ is defined as ‘at risk’ (of not meeting state dictated ‘wellbeing’ outcomes). Do follow that last link and try to work out which child won’t be at risk according to a bunch of overpaid wellbeing wonks who inhabit glass offices with dedicated ‘wet umbrella stands’ (we kid you not) and subsidised facilities, safe in the knowledge that they know best for the rest of us and suitably protected from the real world by fat salaries and a posse of security guards.


    Think diet, education, health and other hitherto respected personal family choices and watch who ‘they’ come for first. The Gypsy Travellers are directly in the path of the steamroller, along with the home educators, non vaccinators, service resisters and serial complainants, but they will also be coming for you, especially if you disclose any vulnerability, so don’t mention your recently departed guinea pig or terminally ill granny under any circumstances as it will come back to haunt you in a future ‘wellbeing’ risk assessment and may require a ‘suitable intervention’.


    Much discussion has been taking place on forums and community networks since the true extent of the government’s planned intrusion into family life has become apparent to all but the completely comatose.  While home educators have been more awake than most to the implications, the wider parent population is beginning to appreciate just how it will affect all families, incuding their own. A misguided minority still find it hard to believe that their government could behave in such an underhand way and try to convince themselves that it must surely only apply to ‘abused kids’; others with more nous, including some professionals, have reacted angrily at having been kept in the dark for so long and have started writing to their MSPs (most of whom seem to think early interference in family life is a great idea – do remember that if you ever bother to vote again).  Meanwhile they’ll carry on regardless and will come up with some suitably vacuous party-approved ‘line’ in an effort to persuade the naïve that they have ‘our’ (meaning ‘their’) children’s best interests at heart. Like we parents don’t? And no, our heads don’t all button up the back.


    Schoolhouse has now had two pointless meetings with civil servants from the Bill team, none of whom has been able to convince us that they have anyone’s interests but their own political ones at heart. Those at the second meeting contradicted what was said by those at the first meeting on the matter of home education guidance in particular – it is categorically not going to change, according to the latest  assurances, but we’ve heard it all before – and the Bill, as introduced, is ‘silent’ on home educated children (but just wait for the anti-home ed amendments and secondaries to kick in!)  The dialogue has, however, confirmed the realisation of our worst fears for all children who will be subject to mass data rape by a gang of licensed professionals (some of whom, statistically speaking, are bound to be unsuitable individuals) and forcibly included in what has become known as the paedophiles’ address book.


    The track record of government  IT projects alone should be enough to sound alarm bells for every right thinking parent (and politician) as once the data genie is out of the bottle for the entire child (and associated adult) population of Scotland – whether by back door forced entry, loss, theft, or via increasingly sophisticated social engineering methods – it cannot be put back and the damage to data subjects will be irreversible.


    Schoolhouse believes that this Bill, in its present form, will not comply with the Human Rights Act and will therefore be open to legal challenge since the Scottish Parliament has no powers to pass non-compliant legislation. Both European and domestic case law exists which supports this view, and further legal opinion is being sought on specific aspects of the proposed legislation.


    Schoolhouse also has evidence that, in anticipation of the legislation being passed, some so-called public servants are bullying and threatening families who do not wish to avail themselves of de facto compulsory ‘services’, while others are refusing to provide, or delaying the provision of, services identified by families themselves as being required for their children.  Given that every parent-to-be is now having a compulsory ‘parental capacity to provide wellbeing’ assessment undertaken ante-natally and a plethora of assessment forms filled in (covertly or otherwise) detailing every aspect of their family members’, associated adults’ and pets’ lives (and deaths), we would advise anyone who has concerns to submit a subject access request under the Data Protection Act in order  to obtain all the data held on them  and their children by ‘universal services’ and any already-appointed ‘named person’. Some individuals are already doing so (and being charged more than the statutory fee in some cases, it seems) and are finding all sorts of dodgy data have been  recorded about them without their knowledge, never mind consent. Parents should be aware that unsubstantiated allegations and malicious referrals are on the increase as freelance bullying by public servants, especially of those who are perceived as soft targets for the latest policy-led parent-programming intervention scheme, becomes the accepted norm. We know this because we take the calls (but unlike some, we will never share information without consent).


    Schoolhouse is urging parents to write to all of their MSPs (we each have eight of them – one local constiutuency MSP and seven regional MSPs) expressing concerns about this Bill, which has already created mistrust, animosity and hostility between public servants and law abiding citizens and is already actively deterring individuals from engaging with ‘services’ whose primary duty now appears to be to collect and share sensitive personal data. GIRFEC (and its big brother formerly known as eCare but hastily rebranded due to some toxic publicity) is no more than a giant haystack building exercise which will invariably have serious consequences for the most vulnerable children, for whom vital warning signs will be missed or lost in a sea of false flags about dead guinea pigs and families who have moved house wthout informing the new Scottish Stasi. It will have the opposite effect to that which is allegedly intended (although we aren’t so sure about the stated  intentions being honourable) and will effectively place a minority of very vulnerable children at much greater risk of significant harm.

    To find your MSPs, just enter your postcode on the Scottish Parliament website and write to each of  them now with a request that they respond to your specific concerns. We will be publishing letters and responses (most of which we can reliably predict will be template party lines!) on our website in due course.


    You might also want to ‘engage’ with the government on this website (enter GIRFEC in the search box to find the relevant propaganda-filled posts). Your comments will be subject to moderator approval, but so far they have been appearing in their entirety. Here are some we made earlier.


    Oh, and don’t believe what you hear from the ‘children’s workforce’ (a term which, to us, conjures up images of children up chimneys) and ‘children’s charities’, all of whom are extremely vocal in promoting their vested financial interests in ensuring this Bill goes through and in seeking the complete eradication of parental decision-making and family privacy. Unlike parents who look after their own children’s welfare and are in it for the love, politicians are in it for the power and professionals are essentially in it for the loot.


    It’s the Sound of Music all over again, folks, only without the happy ending, as our 1320 Declaration of Freedom is set to be abolished by the Brave New Scottish Government of 2013.



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    1. T. Llewellyn Jones says:

      I have sent this letter to the Scotsman – copied to the ICO Ken MacDonald.

      24 April 2013

      Dear Sirs,

      Presently proceeding through the Scottish Parliament is the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill.

      The Bill proposes that if someone in a public authority is concerned that any child is not ‘healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included’ that an electronic record of the child’s details is created and passed to a ‘Named Person’ . This ‘Named Person’ would have legal responsibility for the child’s ‘wellbeing’ being, in effect, an additional parent representing the public authority.

      This proposal is very left leaning and marks Scotland out as a jurisdiction with huge power over families. It was opposed by a number of respondents to the Bill’s public consultation – specifically because it is ‘state interference in family life’. Even the most virtuous parents will start looking over their shoulders for the day the ‘Named Person’ gets in touch with a ‘concern’ about their child.

      Broadly, across Britain, public authorities are prevented from taking action against a family unless there is evidence that the child is at risk of significant harm. This is because intrusive state involvement in family life can be highly damaging for children, parents and their mutual relationships. There needs to be a clear break point in the law, understood by everybody, which allows a family to shut the door to public authorities if the child is not at risk.

      This position is supported by Human Rights and Data Protection Laws which apply equally across Britain. Furthermore, this position was made clear recently when a court ruled (AB & Anor, R , 13 March 2013) that social workers who force action against a family when there is no evidence that a child is at risk are breaking these laws.

      The point is that any new provisions, written into the new Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, for intrusive involvement in family life, will ultimately have to fit these Human Rights and Data Protection Laws. Also, when common law judgments in other jurisdictions rule against public authorities who act intrusively against families, those judgments may also be used in Scottish Courts.

      Why then, has Dr Ken Macdonald, the Assistant Commissioner at the Scotland & Northern Ireland Information Commissioner’s Office, given the green light to the information sharing proposal in the Bill? Writing on 20 March 2013 Dr Macdonald gave the green light to the sharing of information about a child’s ‘wellbeing’ without the parents consent. ‘Wellbeing’, like ‘safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included” is a very loose term. What this law is in fact proposing is that public authorities will be able to act against a family based on little more than someone’s subjective view of their parenting style .

      The whole purpose of the Human Rights Act is to protect the public from such intrusive and interfering laws so it is very surprising that this Bill has got thus far. I have copied this letter to Dr Macdonald at the Information Commissioners Office.

      Yours faithfully,

      T.C. Llewellyn Jones

      AB & Anor, R (on the application of) v The London Borough of Haringey [2013] EWHC 416 (Admin) (13 March 2013)

      Update from Dr Ken Macdonald, Assistant Information Commissioner, Scotland and Northern Ireland – Information Sharing Between Services in Respect of Children and Young People .

    2. Sheila Struthers says:

      “The Bill proposes that if someone in a public authority is concerned that any child is not ‘healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible and included’ that an electronic record of the child’s details is created and passed to a ‘Named Person’ .”

      The the scenario you describe in your letter(I will reread the draft legislation when I can face it) bears no relation to what has been planned for years and is actually happening on the ground (and this Bill is just the start of the legal process “with more expansive plans for following years”:

      There is to be a record of ever expanding SHANARRI wellbeing tickboxes (and much more) for EVERY child from pre-birth which passes from named person to named person. There does not need to be a “concern”. This information is to be recorded as “routine”.

    3. buttons says:

      “Everything that is proposed from the establishment seems almost calculated to minimise the role of the people, to miniaturise man. I can understand how attractive this prospect must be to those at the top. Those of us who refuse to be pawns in their power game can be picked up by their bureaucratic tweezers and dropped in a filing cabinet under ‘M’ for malcontent or maladjusted.” ~ Jimmy Reid speaking in 1972 but equally applicable in 2013 to a control freak SNP government. Just substitute database for filing cabinet.

    4. Eulanyree says:

      Just a little factoid, I divided the £30 000 000 two year budget for GIRFEC between my estimated, child, (0 – 18,) population in Scotland, (I could only find accurate figures for 2011.) It came to approx £13 per year per child and their associated families and pets. So £13 for the “in-depth and accurate” gathering of information about each child and their associated families and pets several times during each year, followed by assessments of their needs, vulnerabilities and wellbeing as well as the “safe” storage of all this data. That’s a lot for £13. On such a small budget how could these in-depth assessments and diagnosis be anything beyond assessment and diagnosis by checklist and box ticking; neither accurate nor in-depth. This method of diagnosis is open to massive flaws and is currently being brought into doubt in the field of psychiatric diagnosis. With resources spread so thinly, genuinely vulnerable children won’t get much of an opportunity to be protected.

    5. T. Llewellyn Jones says:

      >>There is to be a record of ever expanding SHANARRI wellbeing tickboxes (and much more) for EVERY child from pre-birth which passes from named person to named person. There does not need to be a “concern”. This information is to be recorded as “routine”.<<

      I completely agree with you that every parent should be concerned about this. If parental consent isn't sought when the information is raised and the record created then what is there to stop false, inaccurate or blatantly biased information being stored? And, in any case, just how much information should be stored in any case?

      The issue I raised in the letter (which almost certainly won't get published . . . ) is the consent required under the Human Rights Act to push the button and draw all that information together without the parents consent. If the law has been broken that's one thing. But I don't see how you can have a law that says public authorities can share the information without parental consent just because the child might not be, say, 'included'. You might want educate you child at home and not be 'included'!

      There is no mention in the Bill that it respects the Human Rights Act. In the Bill it appears that Clause 26 – Information Sharing – allows for 'any information' which might be 'relevant to the exercise of the named person functions ' can be shared. There's no parental consent in the clause so, by default, there is no family privacy. I don't see how that can pass the Human Rights Act. I really, really, don't. It's just too ludicrous and permissive for words.

      As regards passing legislation that breaks the Human Rights Act today's letter in the Scotsman could not be more topical:

      Matter of Consent

      Apparently the authorities in Scotland can give electric shock treatment to patients without their consent. The Supreme Court says that Scotland exceeded it's legislative competence when it legislated for this. I would argue this also applies to the permissive information gathering / sharing regime in the Children and Young Persons Bill. It doesn't pass the Human Rights Act.

    6. T. Llewellyn Jones says:

      To clarify my comment on this letter:

      Matter of Consent

      The Supreme Court ruled that the Agricultural Holdings (Scotland) Act 2003 breaches the Human Rights Act The letter argued that legislation allowing electric shock treatment to patients without their consent also breaches the Human Rights Act.

      My point is that the GIRFEC system also breaches the Human Rights Act because it removes all thresholds for state intervention in family life.

      Therefore, if you resist or object to a GIRFEC type intervention you should also have your rights upheld under the Human Rights Act.

    7. alisonp says:

      It’s about time the somnolent 129 at Holyrood woke up and clocked that the ‘wellbeing risk indicators’ define 100% of under 5s as being ‘vulnerable’, as well as the offspring of all those who don’t much care for state ownership of children.

      The ICO’s law-bending ‘guidance’ is an utter disgrace. As for the so-called Children’s Commissioner, has he even bothered to read the UNCRC? They are no more than chocolate fireguards in the hellbeing that is our impending Brave New Scotland.

    8. HWG Monteith says:

      Parents and child – the family are the back bone of a free country
      - education 3 “R” practical and home focus centered on the only source – The Handbook given, and a true History, Establish’s Hope and No Fear in a Loved Child.
      The teaching of destructive early ideas into pure innocent and inquisitive minds needs and requires a hedge around them from such painful childhood experiances, leaving deep scares and mental anquish. The UN bill of Rights for a child is an underhanded attack or our children, subversion. We together with commonsense must protect our children regardless!
      Thank you Schoolhouse committed to the preservation of our childs future.

    9. Alex, Dalkeith says:

      The Government seem to be hell-bent on damaging families to the maximum extent possible. Appointing some pen-pusher for each child as a State Guardian will simply increase the injustices that are already occurring where Social Workers target normal middle class families, instead of those involved with drugs, violence or abuse. The degree of opportunity for abuse here is simply staggering.

      Our children are impeccably well behaved, we have never been involved with drugs, alcohol or abuse, yet the authorities on three occasions had contact with us:

      a) Two policemen came to the house stating a child had been reported as walking around on his own. I asked them to describe the child and realised it was my son, aged 10, in his school uniform, walking to school. I asked them “what do you think children do at 8.30 in the morning?”, to receive a blank stare. I told them, “they go to school”, which is what my son was doing. They were aware he was 10, yet thought he should be accompanied the short distance! I then asked them to leave. We live in a semi-rural environment with no real crime.

      b) A little while after this, wife was prosecuted for allowing our youngest daughter (then 4 years old) to play with my son (again when 11) in a public playground in a safe park on a sunny day at 2pm, which was fenced off. Her crime is she went to the public toilets nearby leaving them on their own for 20 minutes. Fortunately the judge threw the case out, but the worrying element was the Social Worker giving evidence said, “if the youngest was in the UK they would be applying to take her into care” – without any other grounds whatsoever other than we think children can play on their own in a public playground for short periods. Again the judge told them how absurd this is. In the process we realised how much schools, social workers already collate information – and this is for children who are happy, doing well at school, in a professional middle class family with no negatives at all!

      c) Our house is secluded, with a 10ft wall around it, on a country estate. Someone walking with their dog nearby saw through the gates that my son (then 8) was sitting reading a book next to my daughter’s pram (she was 18 months, sleeping). Some deemed this a crime so the police came, resulting in my wife taking our daughter off to a neighbour. The police brought out a dog team and two helicopters to search. I rang them, as I was away on a trip for the day, and asked them to leave my house so my wife and son could return, and we would come and see them the next day. The police stayed all night, emptied the fridge. They went to every house nearby. I went to the police station as soon as I got back, and fortunately the officer in charge was from the Highlands (in Scotland): I pointed out that children in rural Scotland normally sleep outside during the afternoon, and this was some crazy English paranoia coming in. He agreed it was crazy, and closed the case: we never got an apology, nor a refund for a fridge that was now empty.

      So if a normal decent Christian family have these things go on, when they live in a safe area, with no history of any crime or abuse, what on earth is going to happen when they appoint State Guardians for everyone? This Act has the potential to move Scottish child welfare back 50 years, and create the abuses that occurred in Ireland on our own soil.

      The State need to stay out of family life, support it instead of assailing it at every opportunity, and put their resources into protecting children genuinely at risk from parents with drug, alcohol or abusive backgrounds.

      Alex D (Email address supplied to site)

    10. T. Llewellyn Jones says:

      None of the circumstances described by Alex, Dalkeith, remotely hit the child protection threshold of a child suffering from, or at risk of, significant harm. That’s why the Judge had to throw out the case of the children playing in the park on their own for a few minutes.

      However, if the Children & Young Persons (Scotland) Bill passes unamended then the new threshold will be one of ‘wellbeing’. If that happens then Judges will have to use the law as in respect of such fictitious complaints.

      To quote Lord Nichol in the matter of J (Children):

      “The threshold is there to protect both the children and their parents from unjustified intervention in their lives.”

      The whole problem with the Children & Young Persons (Scotland) Bill is that the proposed legislation is unbalanced. It just does not take account of both sides of the problem. I.e. there will no protection from vexatious and utterly needless interference in family live by authorities.

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