Two Thirds Brand Named Person Plans 'Unacceptable'

28 March 2016, 06:31 | Updated: 28 March 2016, 06:33

Almost two thirds of Scots believe assigning a named person to every child is "an unacceptable intrusion'' into family life, according to a new poll.

Results from the survey revealed just 24% of those questioned said they would trust a named person to always act in the best interests of a child - even where this conflicted with the wishes of the parents.

The poll was commissioned by the Christian Institute which is part of the No to Named Persons campaign group set up to challenge provisions contained in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

Under the measure, a single point of contact, such as a teacher or health visitor, would be assigned to look out for the welfare of children under 18.

The Scottish Government says the service will act as a safety net to help families and children if they need it while those opposed argue the move breaches the human rights of parents.

The recent poll asked if people agreed "it is right for every child to be assigned a named person to monitor their well-being''. A total of 24% in Scotland agreed, 58% disagreed and 18% were unsure.

It also showed 79% said they would be concerned they could disagree with the named person over what was in their child's best interests.

Colin Hart, director of the Christian Institute, said: "The named person scheme is the most audacious power grab in the history of parenting.

"Parents are, on the whole, best placed to care and look after their children and where they are not, the state and all of its agencies should focus on helping those people.

"It should not be targeting decent, hard-working people who are simply trying to raise their children according to their beliefs and values.''

Campaigners against the proposals previously lodged a petition for a judicial review at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Scotland's top civil court, challenging the lawfulness of the provisions, but it was rejected.

Judges then refused a later appeal against the decision.

An appeal has now been heard in front of a five-strong panel of justices at the Supreme Court in London over two days, with a decision to be delivered in due course.

Last week, during First Minister's Questions at Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon said parents are not legally obliged to use the scheme, but it is right that the service is universal.

An SNP spokesman said: "This poll shows that more people in Scotland than in both England or Wales agree that their Government 'does a good job of balancing the need to protect children at risk, while not penalising parents'.

"The named person policy is about supporting, not diminishing, the role of parents - and has already been been upheld by the highest court in Scotland, including a ruling which said the policy had 'no effect whatsoever on the legal, moral or social relationships within the family'.''

The poll of 6,120 adults, including 532 in Scotland, was carried out online by ComRes between March 2 and 13.