Critical masses say no to Snooperati

GIRFEC: Getting Information Recorded For Every Child (and the whole family tree!)

The home educators’ petition (which was set up purely as an awareness raising tool when it became clear that parents and professionals were being misled into believing that GIRFEC was about protecting vulnerable children rather than a mass data stealing exercise) has now passed the 6000 signature mark, and supporters will no doubt welcome an update on progress, if it can be described thus.

A legal challenge by the NO2NP campaign is ongoing, with an appeal hearing having been fast tracked following one judge’s failure to comprehend the serious damage already being inflicted on families, well before the offending provisions are set to become enforceable in August 2016. We now need to wait and see what the triumvirate in the Inner House of the Court of Session has to say, but implementation of this totalitarian legislation will ultimately be doomed to failure, as happened in the Isle of Man, without popular consent or co-operation. Has the Declaration of Arbroath now been officially torn up by those who cry freedom while strangling self-determination?

NO2NP roadshows have been continuing in various locations across the country, with audiences growing ever larger and ever more vocal as parents become aware of what GIRFEC surveillance and a named person means for their own families. We have now published Alison’s Dingwall roadshow presentation with links for reference, and video recordings of the Glasgow event speakers should soon be available on the NO2NP website.

Lesley Scott’s (Tymes Trust) illustrated walk-through of the SHANARRI indicators, wellbeing wheels, triangles and chronologies left many audience members visibly stunned by the level of intrusion planned (and already being rolled out) for every child (and every citizen if you look closely). Not many people realised that universal citizen surveillance and profiling now starts in the womb, facilitated by the mass mining by every professional of the sensitive personal data of every child, every family member and every associated adult, often without their knowledge or consent.

Wake up, Scotland, this is not about a ‘single point of contact’ for those who need or want one, it is social engineering on steroids!

A growing number of victims are now publicly sharing their experiences of GIRFEC and the cult of SHANARRI that drives it, including that of an Aberdeen school pupil who was interrogated, without advance warning, about highly personal matters by a school nurse she had never previously met. This professional had not obtained parental consent and had presumed the consent of the child, who subsequently reported her distress at the nature of the interview questions and the recording of her responses.

Here is a selection of the questions asked by an unnamed stranger of a 13 year old schoolgirl during an unscheduled interview she was given no opportunity to refuse:

Who do you live with?

Do you get on with your sister?

Where do your other siblings live – do they live nearby?

Do your parents work? What jobs do they do?

Do you have any pets?

How many pets?

Do you sleep well?

When the child answered yes to this question, the nurse said: “so no bed-wetting then?”

Have you started your menstrual periods?

Do you feel safe and secure in your home?

Do you feel loved and cared for?

Are you listened to?

If you have a problem who would you go to? The child replied she would go to either parent which was met with “but it would be your Mum if it was about puberty, yes?”

Do you have a good relationship with your parents?

Can you talk to them?

These intimate wee ‘chats’ with individual pupils appear to be something of a departure from the E2S and ChildrenCount surveys that caused parental outrage in Perth and Kinross, but the questions are equally inappropriate and there is now no longer even a nod to the anonymity or confidentiality of children’s sensitive personal data.

The child who was traumatised in the Aberdeen case – a captive data subject in a school setting where she should feel safe – will of course have to submit her own subject access request under the Data Protection Act, since her parent, whose consent was said by the school to have been provided under a blanket ‘core’ agreement of which she knew nothing, is unable to access records relating to her ‘competent’ child.

The (un)named person, on the other hand, is at liberty to share every intimate disclosure, including hearsay howsoever obtained, with other ‘professionals’ and enter the details on an essentially insecure database which any ‘competent ‘12 year old could probably hack into.

Although the parent of the Aberdeen school pupil laid the blame firmly at the door of the SNP, as the party of government, it is still important to remember that the CHYP Act was voted through by every MSP from every political party. GIRFEC (and the associated outcomes-driven CfE) originally came to Scotland from the UN via Tony Blair’s New Labour and is just a kilted version of England’s ECM, which was every bit as objectionable and eventually shelved due to public resistance. It will of course be back, as early intervention is now being introduced into every area of social policy across the UK, despite there being no evidence to justify it.

Employing a highly paid monitor class to scrutinise, blame and ‘remediate’ (into state dictated shape) those who have been the victims of serial social policy failures is clearly more of a priority than providing a roof over every head, a dinner in every belly and protection for every vulnerable child. Extending these monitors’ job descriptions to mine data from, and inflict state dictated outcomes on, every child and every family member goes to show just how pear shaped things have become. There’s no V (for Vulnerable) in GIRFEC, remember.

The Scottish Government has recently embarked on a guidance ‘consultation’ in respect of the most contentious provisions of the CHYP Act, as if guidance on how to breach overarching data protection and human rights legislation makes universal surveillance and a compulsory ‘cuckoo’ in the family nest any more palatable – or lawful. Such consultations are widely held to be exercises in futility for consultees, since the decisions have already been made (as we were told when we vociferously opposed the original Bill).

Every professional will have to follow orders from the enforcers of this grand theft data project, which has been years in the planning, and no dissent or conscientious objection will be permitted. A war is being waged against parents by a government that is supposed to work for them, yet most still have no idea of what is about to hit them.

A series of charm offensives have meanwhile also been mounted to keep the unsuspecting masses in the dark. Children are being cynically groomed to sell GIRFEC to their peers and much is made by the government of consulting with young people who have been ‘enabled’ to make suggestions (but only if they are the ‘right’ ones, presumably approved by their named person). Strangely, we haven’t met one young person who has been consulted in any meaningful way, but those who have dared veer off message have reported that their views have been ignored or ridiculed, and that only carefully selected pupil representatives are afforded the right to voice (exclusively pro-GIRFEC) opinions.

Critical thinking is actively discouraged by CfE, another member of the GIRFEC family which is rapidly replacing knowledge with state approved outcomes.

We have just seen this short message prepared by the ‘Better Life Chances Unit’ to update parents on the state’s planned outcomes for their children, whether or not they agree with them:

Getting it right for every child – update

The Scottish Government is currently consulting on detailed guidance that supports parts of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. This Act is a new law that will give children, young people and their families extra support and will encourage everyone to talk about children’s wellbeing using the same words. The consultation on the guidance is due to run until 1 May. It is mainly aimed at the people who support your child – including parents’ organisations – but individual parents are welcome to get involved if they wish. You can take part in the consultation via this link. There is also a leaflet on the Scottish Government’s website with more information.



As can be seen from the above, the leaflet is unbelievably patronising in both presentation and content, infantilising the parents it is supposed to be informing and utilising the Zippy and Bungle multicoloured rainbow that formerly appeared on the English DfES website, perhaps subliminally promising a pot of GIRFEC gold? The cut-out boxes also contain ‘information’ that frankly doesn’t add up for those of us who have actually read the primary legislation and 100+ pages of drivel now out for ‘consultation’.

Here’s a synopsis of what one of our colleagues had to say:

Contrary to what this leaflet states, the draft guidance does not comprise “detailed instructions” for health visitors or teachers, in fact it specifically states that it has not been written with practitioners in mind.

The leaflet claims that the Named Person scheme is designed to provide an “initial point of contact” but omit to mention that it is a universal provision, that there is no opt-out, and that Named Persons will fulfil  their statutory obligations as they see fit, regardless of parents’ or the child’s own views. The leaflet also deliberately omits to provide links to the risk indicators and outcome signifiers that would probably sound alarm bells.

What they mean by “if information about a child needs to be shared, this is always done properly” is that practitioners must record their decisions and has nothing to do with not sharing information. In fact the ICO has made it clear in advice given to Perth and Kinross that if they want to share information, then they can go right ahead and do it – consent “is not the be-all-and-end-all”, rather it is only one of the conditions for processing and “carries no more weight than any of the others”. [Link for reference (8.30mins in)]

The ICO representatives further reassured practitioners that consent should only be sought when the individual has a real choice and were clear about how easy it is to share information without consent:

“We know when we are talking about child protection issues we are looking at significant harm, but we know we’ve got the Children and Young People Bill going through which is lowering that trigger down to wellbeing and that’s absolutely fine. If you’re going to do that then you may be relying on public function and public interest and that’s absolutely valid, there’s not an issue with that.” [Link for reference (7.50mins in)]

It is worth noting that the above ‘advice’, based on what we understand is a lay interpretation of the law by a non legally qualified ICO (correct us if we’re wrong, but we don’t think we are), is not shared by data protection experts in other parts of the UK and EU. It has, however, been accepted as ‘gospel’ by councils, which means professionals believe they have carte blanche to routinely collect, trawl and share children’s, parents’ and other associated third parties’ personal data, including health, housing and social work records without consent and below the established legal threshold (i.e. ‘at risk of significant harm’, as upheld in the Haringey case, which has UK wide relevance.]

Businesses found to be making unsubstantiated claims in leaflets and other marketing materials would soon fall foul of the ASA, but perhaps there is another set of rules for politicians when it comes to the mis-selling of Trojan horses?

A concerned parent handing out NO2NP leaflets at the SNP conference in Glasgow to raise awareness among delegates of the implications of the legislation reported being verbally abused by one liveried party member who accused her of being a “liar” for daring to disseminate fully referenced information on the dangers of GIRFEC surveillance and imposing a compulsory named person on every child. Another delegate was observed shouting abuse at a young person who was handing out leaflets with her family and became even more aggressive when her mother intervened. Fortunately, other delegates were prepared to engage courteously with the arguments rather than hurl abuse at the messengers.

The government is showing no sign of backing down in its war against families, and its commitment to equality certainly does not extend to parents for whom ‘equality of arms’ means paying for their own judicial review as well as the government’s anti parent propaganda via taxation. To add insult to injury, in order to close all loopholes and ensure GIRFEC compliance by the third sector, whose participation in the game of Grand Theft Data is crucial, the government has also made public funding (that’s our taxes) available for GIRFEC tribute acts to perform at a venue near you and train your local voluntary groups to collect your family’s data and pass it on.

According to an outfit calling itself  the Health and Social Care Alliance, who are organising a series of state sponsored ‘Getting to Know GIRFEC’ gigs, including one in Dundee:

“The purpose of this workshop is to enable a broad range of practitioners from the third sector to deliver information workshops for children and young people or parents and carers to inform them about GIRFEC and what it means for them; to bring GIRFEC to life, to make it real for them. The workshop will cover everything from organising an information session to the contents and materials (which are provided for you) to the continued support and guidance after the ‘training for trainers’ workshop concludes. We hope we can work together to cascade the information to children and young people and their parents and carers.

Do you have questions about a Getting to Know GIRFEC Workshop? Contact The Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (The ALLIANCE)

We think we’ll pass and would hazard a guess that the information and materials provided will be of the state approved, rainbow bright variety, and that questioning the answers will be frowned upon. There are of course still some pesky anomalies to be ironed out (by steamroller if necessary) as not everyone is fluent in Newspeak, and many have no desire to submit to the cascade of sophistry that is heading their way.

Home educators, as proud members of the anomalous minority, are gearing up for a new wave of demands for the compulsory registration of all parents who are discharging their legal duty to provide an education for their own children. Equally anomalous in the eyes of GIRFECkers are those parents who decline the voluntary health visiting service, which must be frustrating for practitioners with a plethora of ‘parental capacity to provide wellbeing’ assessments to complete, boxes to tick and a voracious appetite for data on everything from pet bereavements to sexual preferences and suicidal thoughts – all to be shared with, and dissected by, any paid up members of the new state Snooperati.  This poster (which is not considered by government agents to be helpful for parents or children, but which in our view should be ‘cascaded’ to everyone) gives an indication of what the ‘anomalies’ might be missing out on!

But hang on a minute!  If the mandatory named person for every child is drawn mainly from the obedient ranks of non mandatory health visitors and teachers, you begin to see a problem emerging for the government and the whole named person pyramid scheme. They have been wrestling with this difficult question for some time, but the final solution appears to be to designate as likely child abusers all parents who decline (allegedly voluntary) services simply for having the temerity to make decisions about education and/or health matters independently of the state.

Kate and William had better watch out as every child needs to be databased (or perhaps it applies only to commoners’ children with exemptions for those of celebrities, politicians, the wealthy and powerful, whose information is too important to lose, as was the case with ContactPoint?)  There’s no getting away from the fact that making registration compulsory for non-compulsory services like ‘education’ (council nurseries or schools) or ‘health’ (NHS health visitors, GPs) is tantamount to parent licensing by a monopolistic state, the unintended consequences of which could be far reaching in terms of culpability as well as civil liberties.

The repugnance and anger expressed by direct enquirers to our organisation, by attendees at NO2NP roadshows and by those leaving comments on our petition undoubtedly represent just the tip of an enormous iceberg that will ultimately sink the seemingly unsinkable GIRFEC Titanic. Several of us heeded the warnings about the vessel’s construction and never got on board in the first place, but now a growing number of passengers –  teachers and NHS staff in particular – are voicing concerns about health and safety issues, especially after the Isle of Man’s pilot ship hit the rocks and sank with significant collateral damage to children, families and social care services. Some concerned crew members are already firing emergency flares, others are looking to launch the lifeboats, and a few brave souls are even taking it upon themselves to do the ‘right’ thing and unlock exit routes to allow those in steerage class, i.e. parents and children, a fighting chance to jump ship before it’s too late. Meanwhile the tribute band plays on and the (swan)song remains the same.


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