Schoolhouse has responded to the call for evidence by the Education and Culture Committee on the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill which is currently proceeding through the Scottish Parliament.
Given (a) the unwillingness of the Minister to acknowledge the seriousness and legitimacy of the concens we (and others) have continued to express about the implementation of GIRFEC by overzealous ‘professionals'; (b) the highly questionable ‘advice’ issued by the Assistant Information Commissioner; and (c) the inability of a significant number of ‘broken record’, template reponse MSPs to grasp that this legislation is not about protecting “the most vulnerable weans” (where’s the V in GIRFEC?), we took the decision to consult with, and subsequently instruct, Allan Norman of Celtic Knot Solicitors and Social Workers to prepare our submission of written evidence.
By way of introduction, Allan is
“the solicitor who brought the case of AB and CD versus Haringey Council on behalf of the successful Claimants. The Claimants were granted both Data Protection Act remedies and Human Rights Act damages when Social Services intervened on the basis of a referral which did not meet the threshold of “significant harm”. In relation to data protection, the Court held that there was no legal basis for the information sharing. The Human Rights Act damages were awarded in respect of a breach of the right to respect for private and family life – Article 8.”
We thank him for his excellent advice and sterling work on our behalf to date.
The full Schoolhouse submission can be read here (pdf). Comments will be most welcome.
Details of the Haringey family’s story can be read here. Their experience is sadly neither isolated, nor confined to England, and the implementation of GIRFEC in Scotland (despite having no statutory basis) has already given rise to similar serious breaches by professionals who apparently believe that the overarching legislation does not apply to them. They are hereby reminded that the Scottish Parliament does not have the competence to pass legislation which is not human rights compliant.
At the time of publishing this post, the Scottish Government has failed to provide details of the legal advice it has taken regarding GIRFEC, as requested by an MSP. The Minister has further failed to respond to a FOI Act request for details of the evidence cited by her which allegedly demonstrates the “success” of the GIRFEC approach. This is now overdue and the enquirer has had to request an internal review. And despite “welcoming debate”, none of GIRFEC’s cheerleaders, most of whom have a vested interest in seeing the policy enshrined in legislation, seems keen to engage directly with those who oppose it, preferring to name call and /or patronise concerned parents and young people instead.
Meanwhile our petition has reached 1370 signatures and has attracted hundreds of comments. Please keep sharing the link and we will present it to MSPs a bit later in the year.