The Scottish Daily Mail’s robust scrutiny of the Scottish Government’s ill conceived and ill-framed Named Person scheme of universal state guardianship for babies and young people up to legal maturity should take the credit for bringing this serious matter to a far greater national consciousness than it has yet had.
Yesterday, 10th June, the paper highlighted one of the many unsoundnesses in the scheme – who is in charge of the safety of these young people when the teachers who will be the Named Persons for them all from pre-school to leaving school are at home out of hours and on holiday?
Teachers will apparently not act on their Named Person responsibilities out of working hours.
The Scottish Daily Mail article revealed that at Moray Council – one of the early implementers of he scheme and where an already appointed Named Person was last year discovered to have an obsessive interest in child sex and was placed on the Sex Offenders Register – eight council workers have been required to take on the out of hours Named Person responsibilities for eighty teachers.
Of course this is daft – and of course this raises all sorts of other issues which the paper noted – like the fact that these council workers would not be known to or notified to the parents of the children for whom they had become so centrally responsible.
However, the big issue, which the paper failed to identify – is much less the fact that eight council workers have been instructed to cover the out of hour and holiday Named Person duties for eighty teachers [unsustainable as this is] – but the detail of the caseloads being transferred from these eighty teachers to the hapless eight council workers.
The Named Person who was put on the Sex Offenders Register in Moray had a caseload of 200 children.
The total volume of the responsibilities being transferred is already inoperable and unsafe – if the responsibilities conferred under the scheme are to be taken at all seriously.
But to transfer what must be an outstanding number of children to eight council workers cannot demonstrate more plainly that this madcap initiative simply cannot work.
If the response to this obviously inoperable situation is that there is nothing to worry about because very few of the children will be at risk and requiring constant monitoring – that would be correct.
Its very correctness, however, strips of credibility the argument for the necessity of a universal statutory imposition of a Named Person for every child from birth to legal maturity.