Reject GIRFEC surveillance and named person for every child in Scotland
  • Petitioning Members of the Scottish Parliament

This petition will be delivered to:

Members of the Scottish Parliament

Reject GIRFEC surveillance and named person for every child in Scotland

    1. Petition by

      Schoolhouse Home Education Association

The Children and Young People Bill which has recently been introduced to the Scottish Parliament seeks to establish a universal surveillance system in respect of every child and associated adult in Scotland. Details of the Bill as introduced may be viewed here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/62233.aspx

Known as GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child), it is already being used, and in some cases abused, by professionals within universal services and other agencies who have been routinely gathering, storing, assessing and sharing sensitive personal data on every child and every associated adult without express informed consent and in the absence of any enabling statutory framework.

Disguised as a child protection measure but nothing of the kind, GIRFEC has spawned a series of ‘wellbeing’ indicators known as SHANARRI which represent a universal prescription for a state approved childhood. It has essentially shifted the threshold for intervention in family life on child ‘protection’ grounds from “at risk of significant harm” to “at risk of not meeting state dictated ‘wellbeing’ outcomes”. Every parent in Scotland is now routinely assessed on his/her “parental capacity to provide wellbeing”, based on government defined criteria which, according to its own ‘National Risk Framework to Support the Assessment of Children and Young People’ (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2012/11/7143/9) places every child under five, and most older children and young people, in the ‘vulnerable’ category (thus liable to ‘early intervention’).

The Bill further seeks to impose a ‘named person’ on every child in Scotland (whose function, it is specifically stated, may not be undertaken by the child or young person’s parent), which is a gross intrusion into family life and completely unwarranted on a universal basis. The fact that every child will be subject to this intrusion by a stranger without opt-out, regardless of his or her wishes (or those of his or her parents in the case of a young child) renders it a disproportionate measure in that most children have no need of state ‘intervention’, compulsory or otherwise, in their family lives.

Given that many parents in Scotland are already struggling to obtain services for their children with additional needs and are often being denied them on the grounds of cost, it is the petitioners’ contention that such a ‘gatekeeper’, having been licensed by the government to interfere in children’s private lives’, will not only add an extra layer of wasteful bureaucracy but is highly likely to become an additional barrier to service access. The named person proposal offers significant scope for children’s rights, parenting choices and family decisions to be undermined and/or overruled by an outsider with boxes to tick, whose views may not accord with those of the ‘named clients’ who have no ‘choose to refuse’ opt-out. This will have (and is already having) a deterrent effect on families’ willingness to engage with ‘services’ whose primary aim is now recognised as being to record clients’ personal details and ‘life events’ to determine their ‘wellbeing’ and pass them on to other complete strangers for possible intervention. The myriad of GIRFEC ‘parental capacity to provide wellbeing’ forms which are used from pre-birth onwards are self explanatory and even have a convenient space to record pet bereavements which, according to SHANARRI indicators, could potentially have a devastating effect on a child’s future ‘wellbeing’.

While such data gathering and sharing by professionals is already lawful and uncontentious in relation to the small minority of truly vulnerable children who are “at risk of significant harm” (a longstanding definition which empowers agencies to make timely child protection interventions), it is inappropriate and entirely misguided to bring every child within a child ‘protection’ regime by shifting the definition of ‘vulnerable’ to include any child deemed (via tick box) to be at risk of not meeting state dictated ‘wellbeing’ outcomes. As child protection expert Eileen Munro observed, “It doesn't get any easier to find a needle in a haystack if you make the haystack bigger”.

Furthermore, given that the stated GIRFEC budget divided by the number of 0-18 year olds in Scotland (2011) provides a per capita sum of approximately £13 to gather, store and share data on every aspect of every child’s life, not forgetting associated adults and pets - even before costing in actual interventions - the future looks very bleak for the most vulnerable children in Scotland. Social workers, teachers and medical professionals are already over worked and under-resourced, and by the time the significant case reviews start mounting up, it will be too late for the ‘data subjects’ whose warning signs were lost in a sea of false flags about pet bereavements and assorted trivia, or missed in the age old tradition of multi-agency failure.

The petitioners contend that the gathering, storing and sharing of sensitive personal data wihout express informed consent on a universal basis is an unacceptable invasion of personal and family privacy in a free society, and deplore the fact that such prima facie unlawful activity has apparently been sanctioned by the Information Commissioner. MSPs are urged to ask why the safeguards for citizens within the Data Protection Act are being swept aside by their alleged guardian without proper parliamentary scrutiny. European and domestic case law does not support the imposition of universal measures such as those outlined in this petition, which would be in clear breach of Article 8 and cannot be deemed ‘proportionate’ when they involve the routine processing of the sensitive personal data of every child and associated adult without express informed consent. The Scottish Parliament is not empowered to enact legislation which fails to comply with the ECHR and such legislation has previously been declared incompetent by the Supreme Court.

GIRFEC, as has been practised to date (in the absence of any statutory framework and thefeore without lawful basis), has already damaged relationships between many parents and professionals and will inevitably place the most vulnerable children at greater risk of harm if parents seek to avoid contact with services which are seen to be staffed solely by state snoopers. The Children and Young People Bill is a Trojan horse piece of legislation which seeks to undermine parents, abolish the right to family privacy and confidentiality, including medical confidentiality, since all records are to be shared (http://www.ehealth.scot.nhs.uk/wp-content/documents/Information-Architecture-Review-Final.pdf), and introduce a national identity register, cleverly disguised in ‘chilld protection’ clothing, by the back door.

The petitioners urge Members of the Scottish Parliament to reject all measures contained within the Children and Young People Bill which allow for the routine gathering and sharing of the personal data of every child and associated adult without their express informed consent, and to reject the imposition, without opt-out, of a ‘named person’ on every child in Scotland.

To:
Members of the Scottish Parliament
Reject GIRFEC surveillance and named person for every child in Scotland

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Named Persons in the firing line as No2NP campaign launches in Edinburgh

      The No2NP campaign was formally launched in Edinburgh on 9th June at a conference which attracted several hundred parents, academics and professionals concerned about the implementation of GIRFEC, the imposition of a Named Person on every child in Scotland and allied data mining without informed consent. Expert speakers from a range of disciplines, who are universally opposed to the offensive anti-family provisions within the Children and Young People Act, pledged support for the No2NP campaign and the legal challenge being mounted by the Christian Institute with backing from several other organisations and individuals.

      We would urge supporters to visit the No2NP website [www.no2np.org] and subscribe to its regular updates. Schoolhouse has meanwhile published an article, 'Named Persons in the firing line', on its website to keep members and supporters fully informed of the latest developments: http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/named-persons-in-the-firing-line

    2. 'No to Named Person' conference, Edinburgh, 9 June 2014

      Although the CHYP Act has now been passed, we have decided to keep this awareness raising petition 'live' as a barometer of public opinion on the important issues of data theft, surveillance and the Named Person for every child in Scotland which have been subject to minimal scrutiny by elected members. Since we always knew they would swallow the child protection cover story without question (apart from a few abstaining Tories) we never had any intention of wasting our energy on presenting the petition to sock puppet MSPs..

      Now that a legal challenge is being launched to the most odious aspects of this anti-family legislation, we are pleased to invite parents and interested parties to attend a conference in Edinburgh on 9th June which will allow the issues we have raised in our petition to be discussed. Please see our website for details: http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/no-2-named-person-conference-the-family-fights-back

      No 2 Named Person conference: the family fights back | Schoolhouse

      As the Christian Institute prepares to launch a judicial review of the anti-family 'named person' and data theft provisions contained in the Children and Young People (Scotland), with legal papers expected to be lodged by the end of June, all those who are concerned about the implications of this odious Trojan horse piece of legislation are being invited to attend a conference at the Holyrood Hotel in Edinburgh on 9th June.

    3. Bought and sold for GIRFEC gold

      As the Christian Institute prepares to launch a legal challenge to the CHYP Bill, an update has been posted on the Schoolhouse website challenging tall tales about the alleged success of GIRFEC in Highland and wondering why Holyrood is currently inhabited by hypocrites. ID cards, anyone? http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/bought-and-sold-for-girfec-gold

      Bought and sold for GIRFEC gold | Schoolhouse

      Now that the has been passed (pending royal assent) all the usual suspects in the public and Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill third sectors are celebrating their state sanctioned status as nosy parker Named Persons with powers to interfere in private family life.

    4. Reached 3,000 signatures
    5. Schoolhouse urges Secretary of State to invoke Scotland Act powers

      As expected MSPs ("ex tablet salesmen on power trips" according to one of our Pictish commeters!) voted the Bill through today. Updates on our website now, please share freely! (1) http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/schoolhouse-urges-secretary-of-state-to-invoke-scotland-act-powers (2) http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/a-salutory-lesson-from-the-isle-of-man-as-msps-prepare-to-abolish-every-childs-right-to-privacy This petition was only created to raise awareness among parents as we always knew the Bill would be forced though by spin and downright lies (as in the case of HIghland's own GIRFE Gauleiter - we have the evidence of parental complaints). History lesson here: http://www.home-education.biz/blog/civil-liberties/id-cards-for-babies-the-rest-will-follow Thank you all, it isn't over yet!

      Schoolhouse urges Secretary of State to invoke Scotland Act powers | Schoolhouse

      Following the passage of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, Schoolhouse has written to the Secretary of State for Scotland requesting that he refer the legislation to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council under Section 35 of the Scotland Act.

    6. Tomorrow MSPs get the chance to reject this Bill (they won't)

      Predictably, MSPs have mostly failed to respond meaningfully to parents' and young people's concerns about this Bill and have simply trotted out soundbites from 'children's charities' and 'professionals' who stand to gain from interfering in family life. Evidently the 2798 people who have signed this petition 'misunderstand' the intentions of the Bill and they're going to 'get it right' for every one of our children so that they can meet their state dictated outcomes by breaching their privacy and riding roughshod over their human rights. Do they really think oor heids a' button up the back?
      We have just published on our website a letter from one of our members to MSPs and a response to international correspondents who have offered support in our ongoing campaign. Links here: http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/freedom-dumped-in-favour-of-glory-riches-and-honours-for-the-few; and http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/braveheart-gives-way-to-graveheart

    7. Reached 2,500 signatures
    8. Beware of Named Puppets bearing GIRFEC ‘gifts’

      Beware of Named Puppets bearing GIRFEC 'gifts' | Schoolhouse

      Our petition continues to attract support and comments from individuals who have been badly affected by the implementation of GIRFEC, despite the fact that no enabling legislation has yet been passed and is, in any case, likely to be subject to legal challenge.

    9. Aidan O'Neill QC legal opinion

      The CHYP Cill continues its passage through the Parliament with barely a whimper form our elected representatives, We have posted an update on our website following publication by the Christian Institute of a legal opinion from Aidan O'Neill QC which warns that the Bill will not be deemed compatible with overarching human rights and data protection legislation.,
      The lawyers can’t all be wrong: http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/the-lawyers-cant-all-be-wrong
      Thank you for helping to raise awareness of the dangers of this piece of legislation.

      The lawyers can't all be wrong | Schoolhouse

      Further to our recent post Legal advice we are happy to share, unlike the Scottish Government, the Christian Institute has published details of the legal opinion it recently obtained from Aidan O'Neill QC on the most contentious provisions within the Children and Young People Bill.

    10. Legal advice we are happy to share, unlike the Scottish Government

      Thank you to everyone who has supported our petition as an awareness raising exercise (since the Scottish Govt is not prepared to listen or publish its legal advice we doubt they'll bother to take any notice of the 2300+ signatories).

      We have just posted a long overdue update on the CHYP BIll, GIRFEC, information sharing and named person provisions (plus a bit more besides) on the Schoolhouse website here: http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/legal-advice-we-are-happy-to-share-unlike-like-the-scottish-government

      Many thanks again and please continue to keep others informed of what is planned for ALL OUR CHILDREN!

      Legal advice we are happy to share, unlike like the Scottish Government | Schoolhouse

      Despite requests from MSPs and members of the public, the Scottish Government is still refusing to publish its legal advice on the most contentious aspects of

    11. Reached 2,000 signatures
    12. Schoolhouse submission to the Education & Culture Committee

      Our petition has now reached 1375 signatures and attracted hundreds of comments from supporters - thank you all!

      The reality of GIRFEC had been carefully concealed by its cheerleaders until we raised this petition and real families started to become aware of what was being planned for their children and all associated adults.

      Schoolhouse has now submitted written evidence, prepared by our specialist legal advisor, to the Education & Culture Committee of the Scottish Parliament. It can be viewed on our website here: http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/schoolhouse-written-evidence-submitted-to-the-education-culture-committee

      Far from "welcoming debate" as has been claimed, GIRFEC's cheerleaders continue to shy way from engaging with those who oppose the Orwellian nature of the Scottish Government's proposals. A typical example can be seen here: http://www.journalonline.co.uk/Magazine/58-6/1012717.aspx#.UfKfF41JPuj The comments make for interesting reading!

    13. There's no V (for vulnerable) in GIRFEC

      Thank you to everyone who has supported our petition which has now gathered 1165 signatures over the past month from those who do not believe the Scottish Parliament has the right, or legislative competence, to introduce what amounts to a national identity register via a Trojan horse Bill cleverly disguised in child protection clothing.

      Schoolhouse has posted a full update and comment here: http://www.schoolhouse.org.uk/home-ed-in-the-news/theres-no-v-for-vulnerable-in-girfec

    14. Reached 1,000 signatures
    15. Censorship by 'Engage for Education'?

      Comments by parents on the Engage for Education blog (http://engageforeducation.org/2013/05/girfec-blog-headteacher-marion-samsons-meeting-with-the-minister-for-children-young-people/) which was featured in the Sunday Express article are not (so far) clearing moderation, but we will be posting them on the Schoolhouse website if they are copied to us info@schoolhouse.org.uk.

      The Express article has published a comment by someone who claims there is no One Big Database. The fact that all the data on Every Child (and associated adult) is shared routinely between all the agencies makes that something of an irrelevance.

      Anyone wishing to familiarise themselves with the mining and sharing of Every Child's (and parent's) data that has been ongoing for several years might want to take a look at this FOI request via the What Do They Know site. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/getting_it_right_for_every_child_2

      This petition has now passed the 800 signature mark. Thank you all.

    16. Bill to spy on parents is criticised by families

      Excellent coverage of our petition on the front page of today's Scottish Sunday Express: http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/400779/SNP-bill-to-spy-on-parents-is-criticised-by-families. The article is open for comments.

      One 'Named Person' is quoted as saying her role is to "challenge" families who are not bringing up their children properly. And according to a Scottish Government training document, the specific aim of GIRFEC is to undermine parents and give the "community" a greater role in raising children.

      Thank you to all who have signed the petition so far and please keep "sharing information" to raise public awareness that GIRFEC is not about child protection but a universal parent licensing scheme.

      What's more, it will soon be exported seamlessly to the rest of the UK if Scotland manages to engineer such a radical departure from the alleged safeguards afforded to Every Child and Every Citizen by the UK-wide Human Rights Act and Data Protection Act.

    17. Reached 500 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Brian Anderson LOPBURI, THAILAND
      • about 15 hours ago

      Surely its not necessary to explain why having a state sponsored monitor for every child in the country is a bad idea.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Fergus Macmillan EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 1 day ago

      This is important seeing as nearly every person you talk to or website you reds is firmly against this idea as it breaches people's privacy and personal life. It also takes away from families rights. I myself have two daughters and hate the thought of their life being watched by someone they barely know. I was so glad to find this petition. Thank you

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Jacqueline Cowie AYR, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 1 day ago

      It does not target the vulnerable at risk children it's targeting all children

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kenneth Brown EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 1 day ago

      Until the social services are adequately funded the risk of wrong decisions being made to the exclusion of parents is too great. The funds would be better spent strengthening links between all bodies involved in childcare e.g. school, doctor, healthworker and parents

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • David Ryan EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 1 day ago

      As a Christian I believe God appointed parents to be primarily responsible for children, and that this bill undermines God's chosen norms for society, which will result in less good and more bad as an overall outcome.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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