Our Scottish Parliament Petition: The Never Ending Story

In a seemingly never ending loop, the Education & Skills Committee agreed at its virtual meeting on 11 November 2020  to keep our Petition PE01692 (calling for a public inquiry into the human rights impact of GIRFEC) open, and to write – yet again – to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

The Official Report of the meeting can be read here and the minutes confirming the Committee’s decision can be accessed here.

A couple of sentences from the Convener was all it took, with a deafening silence from other Members and not even a mention of our own latest submission to the Committee

We remain concerned that the point of the petition is being lost, namely the need for a public inquiry into how families’ human rights came to be routinely infringed as a result of flawed guidance procured from the ICO by the GIRFEC board in a ‘backroom deal’ in 2012.
 
Although the adoption of lawful GIRFEC guidance is clearly something that needs to be addressed going forward, the petition’s main focus has always been on accountability. 
 
We are also concerned not to have seen any responses to the Convener’s letter to LAs (dated 19 December 2019) which were to be published.
The petitioners have suggested that a number of local authorities may continue to refer to and base processes on the 2013 guidance, for example by including the guidance or its details on websites or in training materials. The Committee is therefore writing to all local authorities to ensure that this guidance is not still being used and has been replaced by the 2016 guidance. I would therefore appreciate a short response from you confirming that your local authority no longer refers to the 2013 guidance or relies on its contents in your practices. If this is not the case I would appreciate confirmation that any remaining references or processes based on this guidance will be changed to reflect the 2016 guidance, and the timescales for the completion of this work.
 
Either way, please respond by Monday 20 January. Many thanks for your
cooperation in this matter. Please note that, as is standard practice, we would intend to publish your response online alongside the responses from all other local authorities.
Since there was no mention of this, either, at the latest meeting, we have asked the clerking team for confirmation of how many LA responses have been received, and whether or not they have been (or will be) published as intimated in the Convener’s letter – if only to save us the effort of submitting 32 FOI requests to councils for copies.
 
From a very cursory search, we found this example of unlawful GIRFEC guidance. Hopefully, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar will not have been shy about sharing it, and its equally flawed Multi-Agency Team Around the Child guidance, with the Education & Skills Committee, since both were rubber-stamped by the ‘GIRFEC Group’ in August 2018 (two years after the Supreme Court ‘named person’ judgment)? Did the ‘partners’ and ‘consultees’ choose to ignore the rule of law, or did they not have the ‘foggiest’, like the ICO
 
 
Read more on the history of our petition here.
 
 
 

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