Meet Dionne: Edinburgh’s GIRFEC ambassador!


Edinburgh reporter and photographer

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20 Responses

  1. William Crawford says:

    It is self-evident that there are indeed difficulties relating to the co-ordination and accountability of those involved in child protection in this country. But that is because no one is held to account for the same failures that occur repeatedly without any lessons seemingly being learned.

    Instead, and as was widely reported, we can have the bizarre situation in Edinburgh where two social workers were recently found guilty of contempt of court for ignoring a court order in a child protection case – presumably because they thought they knew better than the court – and their union seemed to think that they should face no consequences.

    I find that both astonishing and deeply worrying.

    Rather than tackle these fundamental issues of accountability head on, this proposal does exactly the opposite. It is a very odd response to police and social work failure.

    From my point of view I would like to be convinced that the present set up is running as efficiently as possible and provides a seamless, joined up services.

    The truth is that social services and the police can already identify most of the children who are at risk within our society and because of a lack of joined up working these children do not get the support that’s required.

    Simply because this joined up working is not in place the majority of families who do look after their children face having a draconian, almost Orwellian system imposed on them.

    The parents and others are absolutely correct to oppose it.

    The rule of law is fundamental to any healthy society. The SNP can interfere or ignore it at their own peril.

  2. Paul says:

    Please excuse some of my spelling and Grammar, not used to writing with my phone.

  3. Paul says:

    I am very proud to know such a young intelligent individual who is actively making a difference to other people’s lifes.

    Dionne is a very kind hearted soul and has been moulded into this remarkable young lady from her own life experiences which has naturally equipped her psyche with the empathy skills and resilience to actively make change to help young people in need.In regards to political conflicting aspects of privacy legislation,everyone has there right to voice and quite rightly so.We live in a technological age and I don’t like the fact information is easily accessible regardless if there was or not laws implemented on confidentiality.(Think GIRFEC would be best to contact directly for answers regarding privacy issues).

    The discourse of politics will always cause friction but when there is a young lady with only one aim to help people then i commend her and thank Girfec for providing her the platform and NEN for taking interest in Individuals like her.

    I am very proud of you Dionne and good luck with college

  4. Wayne. says:

    Well im not going to get involved in this as there seem to be alot of misinformed people on this page . All i will say on this is … I’m against it as it infringes on the rights of the child and their family .

    But this stooshie is entirely of the SNP’s own making … There is no need to make this compulsory unless a child is already on the at risk register , If the child isn’t then parents should have the option to opt-in / out.

    I wasn’t concerned about this either way when i first heard about it but i watched a short video from Maggie Mellon and ive changed my mind.

    If anyone doesn’t know who Maggie is read this >

    Maggie Mellon (MSc CQSW Dip Child Protection) is a social worker with over 35 years experience. Formerly head of public policy for NCH Action for Children Scotland, and Director of Services for Children 1st, Maggie is a social work consultant with a strong emphasis on family and child rights and welfare. Maggie was Chair of the Scottish Child Law Centre until 2012 and is currently a Non Executive Director of NHS Health Scotland (2008 -), and Vice Chair of the British Association of Social Workers (2014 -).

    Here is a lady with a vast amount of experience in child protection and social work telling us this is wrong. Please watch this short video before making up your mind’s on this . After all your families privacy is at stake here .

  5. Gill says:

    Mr lawson, all im going to say on the matter is, it worked for my family at a hard time, how about giving it a Chance. It helped Dionne a lot, and other people I know.

    • Ian Lawson says:

      Well if it worked for you thats good Gill , but im not you and as the poster below points out

      “The one-size-fits-all approach neglects to consider the fact that parenting is unique to each family.”

      Ok so i should give it a chance ?

      Give what a chance ? The govt invade my families privacy , award themselves legal responsibility for my children without even having the decency of asking me first ? You have got to be joking !!

      Did you know that the named person can access all your private and confidential info that they think “might be relevant” ? By private i mean , medical , financial , housing etc and not just you but all associated adults . Do you know what that means ?

      It means that my child’s named person can access not only my info but anyone who comes into contact with my child . That could be aunties , uncles , grannies , friends etc etc . That sound reasonable to you ? Lets not forget that we are not taking about children on the at risk register but ALL children.

      Do children and families not have a right to have a private life ? as it would appear the snp dont think they do despite us being bound by EU law .

      Now we hear about the govt trying to introduce an id system by the back door . Should we give that a chance aswell ? If so tell me why the royal botanical grdns or quality meat scotland have any right to access any confidential info on anyone ?

      That sound reasonable to you ?

      Seems to me that normal loving parents are being vilified for standing up for theirs and their children’s rights. If i need help i’ll ask for it , i will NOT be told by my child’s teacher what is good for my son and what isnt . Im a responsible adult and i will not be treated as a potential child abuser by this Govt !

  6. Richard says:

    I dont think anyone posting here is criticizing Dionne i think the criticisms are being levelled at the govt for taking advantage of an impressionable young lady.

    Here we have a young lady who has been led to believe that this was requested by parents and that its a good thing for all families. Oh really ?

    But what the snp have failed to tell Dionne is that there is currently a court case against this , the sptc , called it “usurping the rights of parents” . The law society described it well here,s there quote .

    “In relation to the information-sharing provisions,the policy memorandum explains that these provisions potentially engage Article 8. Leaving aside the
    EU implications, we would point out that data protection is reserved to the UK parliament and that legislation affecting data protection rights is out-with the
    competence of the Scottish Parliament.

    In practice, although the government considers that the provisions are compliant with the ECHR as they have a legitimate aim, children and young people are entitled to confidentiality and may seek the services of a service provider on the basis that their right to confidentiality will be respected. We are concerned that widening the scope of information-sharing could affect the level of trust between older children and young people and their named person, undermining the function of the role.

    The committee is also concerned that article 8 could be engaged in respect of the parent’s right to respect for private and family life, as there is scope for interference between the role of the named person and the exercise of a parent’s rights and responsibilities.”

    In the committee’s view, the SHANARRI indicators as set out in section 74(2)(namely Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected,Responsible, and Included) which together define “wellbeing”–while clearly desirable attributes for Scotland’s children and young people to have–do not offer a tool with which to make a clear assessment and in the committee’s view are not appropriate for enshrinement in primary legislation.

    The Law Society of Scotland
    26 July 2013


    Here is what the Faculty of Advocates had to say about it …….

    Named Persons:

    This part of the Bill dilutes the legal role of parents,whether or not there is any difficulty in the way that parents are fulfilling their statutory responsibilities. It undermines family autonomy. It provides a potential platform for interference with private and family life in a way that could violate article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Faculty accepts that there may be cases where a ‘named person’ will be of assistance but the provision is not focused on the children for whom the measure would be helpful and it does not cohere with other similar measures for such children. No attempt is made in the Bill to integrate the role of a named person with similar roles when other services are

    Information sharing:

    It is not necessary to violate the right to privacy and abrogate the data protection rights of all children and families in Scotland. The open transfer of data in the manner contemplated in the Bill represents a serious intrusion on individual rights. The data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998 were developed to secure an appropriate balance between the need to process information and the need to protect the rights of the subject or source of the information. It is not clear how that balance is achieved in these proposals, which may in any event relate to matters reserved to Westminster.

    Faculty of Advocates
    2 August 2013

    Or how about the Scottish Parent Teacher Council .

    “We believe the concept of a Named Person for every child is ill thought through and offers no benefit to the majority of children, whose ‘named person’ is already in place–their parent or carer.

    For most children in receipt of universal services, their parent or carer is the person who has most interest in their wellbeing, knows them best, is committed, has staying power and is most motivated to ensure the health, education and other services they come into contact with deliver for them. This proposal completely fails to recognise that significant relationship and effectively seeks to usurp the role of the parent.”


    Did Aileen Campbell mention anything about her appearance on the Sunday Politics Show with Gordon brewer ? In which this act was described as “having something east German about it !

    I could go on but the fact is … Parents do not want this .. It is being forced on them by the govt who have not listened to any concerns at any time that’s why parents have been forced to take this to the law courts . Isn’t the SNP’s idea of democracy great .

    So before people post here criticizing parents for not liking this law learn some facts about it first !

  7. Ian Lawson says:

    Yea thats right Gill , focus on Westminster and completely ignore everything the scot govt are doing . Your on about pedos ? What about the pedos in scotland that have gone unpunished ? No comment on that ?

    Any comment on why the snp refused to investigate historic abuse allegation in glasgow and other places ?

    Now back to the topic ….

    Did you know that the “scottish parent teacher council” have been quoted as describing this as “nothing more than an attempt to usurp the rights of parents” ?

    Or that the entire scottish legal establishment say that this is not only illegal but is also outwith the legislative competence of hollyrood ?

    Any comment on that Gill ? or is that Camerons fault aswell even tho this is a scottish law ?

  8. Karen says:

    So you criticize other peoples post because you cant understand it ? And i cant see me asking anyone for a response , can you ?

    Not a very nice post tho .. when you describe parent not understanding it because of the “BIG WORDS” is quite a derogatory statement

    • irene says:

      The site itself actually asks to leave a comment. AND these words were form the parent themselves and “quoted”

  9. Ian Lawson says:

    Where do you see me criticizing and undermining ? I dont blame Dionne i blame the snp for taking advantage of her . Did they explain to her that they dont need consent to mine and share info about any child or family without their consent ? Did they explain that they can share confidential info even if she asked them not to ? Not just about her but any associated adult . You might want to read up what that means .

    And what the children and young people want ? No its what the SNP want . They didnt ask anyone before introducing this legislation maybe you should do some homework on this first .

  10. irene says:

    You sound like you are asking an audience instead of actually asking this young up and coming voice and champion for our future young people. Encouragement is what is needed her for Dionne not criticism or undermining. After all she was one of the WINNERS in this. Lets help this young lady on her journey in helping youngsters. Me i am an oldie and past it at 51, What we need is someone along the same age and with the same outlook and same lifestyle thoughts to be voicing, Promoting and carrying forward what the children and young people want. I am sure they will find someone their own age more approachable than some person over even 30… No disrespect at this age level and not being bias but it is true. Again Good Luck Dionne

    • irene says:

      This should actually be the reply to the last comment made at the bottom of the page by Ian Lawson.

  11. Gill says:

    I would hope Dionne doesn’t have kids, she is only 17!!!! If you want government propaganda, look no further than the parasite MPs in Westminster, who harbour paedophiles, and hide behind a secret society and lies. That’s what voting no got you.,scared of change! As for coming from this area, we are proud of that fact, there is nothing that has happened that we are shocked at. Maybe if you actually applauded Dionne in trying to make a difference, rather than the normal press about this area, joyriding, robberies, housebreaking etc, why don’t you open your mind instead of being biased!

  12. Ann calder says:

    Dose Dionne even have children, dose Dionne know what its like to have the personal and medical life of your child snooped into and shared with who ever the named person sees fit, dose Dionne know that parents do not want nor wish to have a named person and were never asked, Named person what a piece of nonsense,

    • irene says:

      I am sorry to have to ask you – Have you read the above report on Dionne? In the first instance I would have presumed that where she states her schooling she does not mention she has children and I also presume the whole wording in the title of MEM`s blogg says it all. – MEET Dionne. She has been introduced as one of 12 winners.. It speaks for itself. Dionne is a young enthusiastic ambassador for YOUNG PEOPLE…. Who needs to know and learn who is allowed access to childrens papers. This sounds like it is a case that is singular to one person,. The comments you raise are actually perfect for Dionne to take forward to make sure the raised comments NEVER HAPPEN without the CHILD`S CONSENT IN FUTURE. So thank you for this. Copying and pasting from other sites on the internet is just plain lazy. I am a foster parent and I am 100 % behind a young person pushing for the rights of YOUNG PEOPLE. Dionne go for it, life has no limit`s and do not let people who are living within past and draconian rules and regulations hinder your way forward in life. Young people need young people like YOU. Not being pushed or constructively “advised” on the best way forward BUT WHO FOR.?????

  13. Karen Cameron says:

    Scotland is seeing a hasty transfer of power from the people to the state. And a few components, including the SNP’s unfaltering support from pro-independence voters that they expect to rely on for the near future, are making the transition happen with ease. Even in the face of a growing number of universally free things to adjust people to the state making our financial decisions, nothing of late has quite managed to reach the blatant level of state intrusion and awaken in people such fervent objection as the “named person” law.

    This “service” means named persons will be assigned by the state to every child in the country until the age of 18.(There was a time not long ago when “services” were optional) It is now set to be enforced in 2016 after the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 passed its final stages as a bill in the Scottish Parliament last year. Social workers, health workers and school teachers acting in a dual capacity of both their profession and as state informants, will have legal responsibilities that can rival those of the parent, while powers to intervene in private life and share personal information with government agencies will be handed to the state.

    It is important this policy is universal, proponents tell us, because children with additional support needs are not always immediately obvious to services and so this can ensure that intervention happens earlier to prevent crises at later stages in children’s lives. A justification that has failed to quieten or satisfy parents’ concerns. But the creators of the legislation want to see it implemented at any expense. Even if it means creating bitter resentment among the vast majority of parents who are getting things right and do not want a named person overseeing everything they are doing.

    State-dictated outcomes are presupposed to be superior to all else by the legislation. But parents do not necessarily agree. The one-size-fits-all approach neglects to consider the fact that parenting is unique to each family. Should “named persons”, who don’t know children well, be given the authority to have a greater say than parents – in the eyes of the law – as to what their children ought to be doing then circumstances and behaviours may be misconstrued, leading to unwarranted consequences. It is understandable that more and more parents are viewing the legislation as a breach of their human rights. Their children are being assigned an informant to the state without the option to opt out.

    The impact on parents is one thing. But teachers, too, who are required to be instrumental in this new dynamic, have no say nor even a choice in the matter. It has not been made clear when an educator stops being an educator and assumes the roles and responsibilities of the named person.

    So when parents become suspicious of who they reveal information to, for fear that they are confiding in a middle-man between them and some investigator higher in the chain, more harm than good will be done. An environment of mistrust conducive to relationship breakdowns will be created. Not to mention the added time pressures and weight on teachers’ shoulders that the extra duties carry.

    Early signs of the ostracising effects it will have are already visible in the Highlands where people were surprised to find it had been prematurely implemented as part of a pilot scheme. We are also seeing the wasted expenditure that this will entail, as referrals to services have risen.

    To make social workers responsible for a population’s children is a costly blanket bureaucracy. And at a time when public services are under severe strain, it is ill-conceived that scarce resources should be drawn from the most vulnerable and urgent cases in order to pry on the 95% of families this legislation will never be necessary for.

    Most strikingly important, though, is that every parent from the offset is being treated as potentially guilty of something until proven innocent. And they have to keep on proving their innocence until their child is an adult. It is a sinister state of affairs, indeed, when the onus lies on the general public to prove why we do not want legislation that is being forcibly imposed on us.

    • irene says:

      Maybe this could be re written so that parents of children you are speaking about can actually in lay man`s terms UNDERSTAND THIS. I asked several parents of children with disabilities and / or Global developmental delays to tell me what they thought of this and they did not have a clue what you were actually getting at. Bearing in mind some parents have difficulty understanding the BIG WORDS ( In their eyes ) One asked me if Ostracising was something to do with birds.! One thing I must agree on is the fact that Every parent from the offset is being treated as potentially GUILTY of something until proven innocent. Social workers and other agencies make up there minds EVERY TIME prior to a MAM or LAAC meeting and it is a case of everyone just seems to agree – Is this for quickness and getting it passed or is the child`s thoughts and requests being taken into consideration. Because my foster child`s was not until I asked who cares Scotland to become her advocate…. This is a VERY long blog and a lot of issues raised here I do agree with most things but cannot comment on all in one evening. I have a child with all of the above. So to ask for response to everything i NIGH impossible. Good luck Dionne.

  14. Ian Lawson says:


    Does Dionne know that all children accepting offence grounds, no matter how trivial, at a children’s hearing will have a criminal record until they are 40?

    Does Dionne know that children are regularly evicted from care at age 15/16 to manage how the can?

    Does Dionne know that children are regularly stopped and searched by police without due cause?

    Does Dionne know that information about children and their families can be recorded and shared without their consent?

    Does Dionne know that there is no reference to consulting parents or children or young people in the legislation for girfec? Actually families are not mentioned at all in the legislation?

    Does Dionne know girfec enables “professionals” to share private and confidential info even if it breaches their confidence?

    Maybe Dionne should stop listening to the Govt propaganda and maybe the NEN should do what decent journalists do and tell a story from both sides of the argument. Biased !

    • irene says:

      You sound like you are asking an audience instead of actually asking this young up and coming voice and champion for our future young people. Encouragement is what is needed her for Dionne not criticism or undermining. After all she was one of the WINNERS in this. Lets help this young lady on her journey in helping youngsters. Me i am an oldie and past it at 51, What we need is someone along the same age and with the same outlook and same lifestyle thoughts to be voicing, Promoting and carrying forward what the children and young people want. I am sure they will find someone their own age more approachable than some person over even 30… No disrespect at this age level and not being bias but it is true. Again Good Luck Dionne

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