Monday, 9 September 2013

UNISON Scotland gives evidence on Children's Bill

UNISON's John Stevenson gave evidence to the Scottish Parliament's Education and Culture Committee on Tuesday 3 September on the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill. The session discussed the general principles of the Bill.

John stressed that UNISON Scotland supported the idea of a named person and an integrated plan for every child in Scotland but queried whether the necessary resources would be available on the ground to deliver such a comprehensive service. Health, education and social work were already bogged down with reports, forms, assessments, etc. when more practical help would be needed. He raised the different interpretations of welfare (protection) v wellbeing, by different agencies and expressed concern that children's rights had been in some way downgraded, as rights of the parents were put first, more and more. He agreed with the committee that a children's rights impact assessment would be helpful.

He also raised UNISON's concerns re confidentiality of information and the child's right to privacy.

UNISON believed there would be additional resources needed for health staff, particularly health visitors who would be the named person for all children from birth to 5; and early years staff when the number of hours allocated to 3 and 4 year olds was increased to 600 hours per annum. The increase in social work services was at present unquantifiable, as it would depend on additional referrals arising from the new procedures.

He stressed the need to simplify the number of forms required for children, but not to oversimplify the information in a child's plan, so as to make the information meaningless, which was accepted by the Committee.

UNISON's evidence to the original consultation can be found here.

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