Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

Christian activists rejoice as Scotland drops controversial plan to have a state guardian for every child

Fri 20 Sep 2019
By Tola Mbakwe

Christian groups have welcomed an announced by the Scottish Government that it has dropped its controversial idea to appoint a state guardian for every young person in Scotland.

The Scottish Parliament passed the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act on 19 February 2014.

It required state guardians, known as 'named persons', to record and share confidential information concerning the well being of children and their parents.

It was supposed to go into effect in August 2016, but The Christian Institute led a lengthy legal action against the introduction of the legislation, arguing that it breached human rights.

 

In July 2016, in the case of The Christian Institute and The Lord Advocate (Scotland), five UK Supreme Court judges unanimously struck down the central provisions of the scheme.

The Court stated that the data sharing provisions in the Act breached the right to a private and family life under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

It also ruled that it had to be made clear that any advice offered by a named person is entirely optional.

CARE (Christian Action Research & Education), who was also part of the legal action has called the scheme "creepy".

CARE for Scotland Director, Dr Stuart Weir said: "The writing's been on the wall for the flawed Named Person scheme for some time and today's decision did feel inevitable, although it has been long overdue.

"We wholeheartedly support measures to protect vulnerable young people, but from the start we have been concerned about the potential for the Named Person scheme to undermine the rights of parents to raise their children in accordance with their values and beliefs."

Simon Calvert, deputy director for the Christian Institute, told Premier the scheme raised concerns for Christians because they were afraid there would be a clash of values.

"Christians in Scotland felt that because they have a value system which is different from that which is held by many people, and which is sometimes regarded as controversial by people who can be hostile to them, there was concern that 'Named Person' might interfere in decisions like taking children to church on a Sunday morning rather than letting Johnny go to football practice as he wanted."

Calvert said the role the government should play when it comes to children is providing education and good social services for families who ask for help, and only intervene when a child is clearly at risk of significant harm.

 

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