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Neale Hanvey on Schools Sex Survey



ALBA Party Westminster Leader Neale Hanvey MP has written to the Information Commissioner calling on them to intervene in the row over the Scottish Government’s Health and Wellbeing Survey in Scottish schools. With a growing number of councils already placing it on hold and The Children and Young People’s Commissioner calling for the Scottish Government to pause the survey so as to address concerns about human rights compliance, Mr Hanvey is taking this further step to ensure that the concerns of parents and teachers are fully considered and addressed.

In a statement Neale Hanvey MP said:

" Given the serious concerns which exist among parents, teachers, a growing number of councils, The Children and Young People’s Commissioner and the wider public I have written to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) asking them to intervene.

“ As part of the Health and Wellbeing Survey which is in the process of being rolled out data will be collected by the local authority and potentially shared with the Scottish Government and unspecified third parties. The data subjects are mainly children (under 18) and the child is identifiable by their unique Scottish Candidate Number and survey answers can be traced back to each child.

“ I have therefore asked the Information Commissioner to look at whether Article 16 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which provides children and young people with an equitable right to privacy, may have been breached, as well as the family’s right to privacy under the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In addition I have also raised the issue of informed consent for child participation in the survey as this would seem an absolute pre-requisite.

“The Scottish Government further state in their privacy notice that data may be linked with other data they hold for an individual child. This goes beyond and contradicts the intention of anonymised data collection for purely statistical purposes and analysis so I have sought the Information Commissioner’s views on this important matter.

“ The First Minister’s insistence that parents or the child have the right to opt out does not give the reassurance in practice that is required and fails to take account of the fact that GDPR consent requires a positive, specific and granular response for each processing purpose e.g. general wellbeing, mental wellbeing, use of alcohol, use of tobacco, use of drugs and relationships and sexual activity/health.

“ It is time that the First Minister recognised the legitimate concerns of parents and teachers that this survey goes way beyond the gathering of data for statistical purposes but represents a potential intrusion by the state into the lives of children and young people which potentially threatens both their privacy and human rights. Her failure to recognise these concerns will result in her earning the epithet of ‘Nanny Nicola’.”

Mr Hanvey has asked the Information Commissioner a series of detailed questions in a number of key specific areas. In his letter he states:

“Once a child has participated in the survey the Scottish Government state that they will have surrendered any right of access or control over their data, including asking for their data to be deleted. I hope you will agree this is irregular and should concern any guardian? What privilege is the government obtaining by this broad limitation of any semblance to privacy? What future use may the data be utilised for and does this mean that the state is using its apparatus to potentially criminalise its citizens?

“Which exemption the Scottish Government are relying on to deny the child and their parents/carers these fundamental rights?

“Do you believe that informed consent (including full access to the census questions) should be sought from parents/carers/young people prior to the child’s participation?

“Do you believe that the threshold for consent, data sharing/retention and GDPR rights are being complied with in the supporting FAQs and Privacy statement?

“Do you believe the conduct of this survey is compatible with both Article 16 of the UNCRC, and the right to privacy as laid out in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

“Do you believe this survey is compliant with GDPR legislation? Can you please detail any specific points to illustrate your assessment?”

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