Sep 022017
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR

Go4Set allows school pupils opportunities to meet with industry leaders and gain insight into the careers which studying science, engineering, technology and maths may lead to.

A scheme which encourages young people in Aberdeen to get involved with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) has received a welcome donation from Aberdeen Charitable Foundation.

The global financial firm has previously sponsored the Engineering Development Trust’s Go4Set programme in London and
Edinburgh, and has now set its sights on aiding students in the north east of Scotland.

Throughout the 10-week Go4Set scheme, 12 to 14-year-old pupils from secondary schools across Aberdeen will get the opportunity to work with industry mentors on environmentally-themed STEM projects.

By working with industry leaders, they will be able to gain an insight into industries that they may work in themselves one day, seeing theoretical knowledge they have gained in the classroom put to real-world uses.

Helen Anderson, director of the Education Development Trust, says:

“Go4Set allows school pupils an unrivalled opportunity to meet with industry leaders and gain a greater insight into the career paths which studying science, engineering, technology and maths may take them on. The students who participate are all volunteers, meaning they are passionate about the subjects and eager to learn more. Aberdeen Charitable Foundation’s generous £1,194 donation will help us to continue to run Go4Set for pupils in and around Aberdeen, inspiring future STEM pioneers.”

Research has shown that by exposing younger pupils to STEM-related employers and allowing them an insight into the world in which they could find themselves in the future, more students choose to continue studying STEM courses at Higher and Advanced Higher level, and onwards to university.

Claire Drummond, head of charitable giving for Aberdeen Charitable Foundation, says,

“The Engineering Development Trust’s Go4Set programme is incredibly popular with pupils and employers across the country, allowing them to interact with each other to jointly discover the future of STEM subjects. STEM is integral to the work we do, so we are thrilled to be able to support a scheme which encourages young people to pursue these topics.”

For more information on the Engineering Development Trust and Go4SET, visit www.etrust.org.uk

For more information about the Charitable Foundation, visit http://aboutus.aberdeen-asset.com/en/aboutus/responsible-business/aberdeen-charitable

Sep 012016
 

Student-Lock-In-Save-the-date2With thanks to Jessica Murphy, Senior Account Executive, Citrus:Mix.

Bon Accord will enter lockdown next month as Aberdeen’s biggest and best student event takes over the city centre.

Now in its fifth year, the annual event, which is open exclusively to students, attracted more than 6,000 people to Bon Accord & St Nicholas last year.

The Student Lockdown is expected to attract an even bigger turn-out as the centre hosts the extravaganza on September 27. Students will be able to get their hands on a range of incredible discounts, with retailers offering up to 50% off purchases on the night as well as special giveaways.

Around 40 stores will be open on the night, which will run from 6.30pm to 9pm, and feature a wide variety of attractions and entertainment – as well as DJs, food and pop-up bars.

Craig Stevenson, manager of Bon Accord & St Nicholas, said:

“This event has now firmly established itself on the student calendar and has been growing in popularity each year. The atmosphere it creates in the centre is absolutely fantastic and we are looking forward to welcoming students from Aberdeen’s two universities and North East Scotland College to the Student Lockdown next month.

“Retailers will be putting on some incredible discounts for attendees and we will also be holding a range of competitions in the build-up to the Lockdown. Live music, special giveaways and pop-up bars and food outlets will further add to the occasion and ensure students will have an incredible night. For us this is also a way to introduce new students to what is on offer in Aberdeen and we hope they come along and enjoy it.”

Bon Accord & St Nicholas are at the heart of Aberdeen city centre’s retail sector, offering 840,000 sq ft of prime space and home to around 100 stores. Scotland’s largest Next, Aberdeen’s only Topshop and Topman standalone store as well as the City’s largest New Look and River Island are among the key retailers.

The centres, which attract an average of 275,000 visitors a week, are owned by BMO Real Estate Partners and managed by specialist retail agency Savills. For further information on the centres visit www.bonaccordandstnicholas.com

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Mar 172016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Picture issued for free use by tricker pr on behalf of aberdeen asset management 2016 aberdeen boat race between robert gordon university (black/white) and aberdeen university (blue/yellow) on the river dee .... Pictured: Lord Provost George Adam with RGU after winning the 2016 race photo: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media.

Lord Provost George Adam with RGU after winning the 2016 race photo: Ross Johnston/Newsline Media.

Robert Gordon University has won the Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race, which took place on Saturday March 12, in record time. They won the closest ever race with a time of seven minutes and 38.6 seconds, beating rivals from the University of Aberdeen for the fifth consecutive year by just a quarter of a length. The University of Aberdeen was the runner up with a time of seven minutes and 40.1 seconds.

Both crews broke the previous course record of seven minutes and 42.2 seconds set by Robert Gordon University in 2014.

Hordes of spectators turned up to watch the teams take to the River Dee as the rivalry between the universities reached its peak.

Erin Wyness, president of Robert Gordon University Boat Club, says,

“For this to be RGU’s fifth win in a row feels awesome, as we were all so determined to retain the title. I’m so proud of the crew.

“We would like to thank Aberdeen Asset Management for their continued support of the Universities’ Boat Race as without them it wouldn’t be possible. Also, a big thanks to Ian and the University of Aberdeen crew, who always put up a great challenge.”

Ian Walker, president of the University of Aberdeen Boat Club, says,

“Well done to Erin and the rest of Robert Gordon University Boat Club, they all put on a brilliant display on the water and worked very well together as a team.

“Even though we didn’t win, I’m still so pleased with our performance on the river as I know my team put their all into the race. The atmosphere throughout the day has been unreal and we all feel so honoured to be involved in such a memorable sporting event in Aberdeen.”

The alumni boat race was won by Robert Gordon University by one and a quarter lengths in a time of two minutes and 14.5 seconds. The universities’ second crew boat race was won by the University of Aberdeen in a time of seven minutes and 48.1 seconds.

The Evening Express competed against last year’s winners Original 106fm in the first heat of the media challenge, followed by the BBC challenging STV in the second heat. Original 106fm and the BBC went on to row against each other in the final, with the BBC winning the 2016 media challenge boat race with a time of one minute and 14 seconds. They raced 300m in coxed ‘tub’ pairs.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management, says,

“I would like to offer the winning crew from Robert Gordon University huge congratulations on their fifth consecutive boat race win. I would also like to praise the efforts of the Aberdeen University Boat Club which also performed exceptionally well today.

“Both teams should be extremely proud of themselves and all the hard work they’ve put in to training for this year’s boat race. It is always rewarding to watch talented, young rowers push themselves year after year to achieve such incredible results. Aberdeen Asset Management is proud to continue supporting young talent as well as Scotland’s longest running boat race.”

Follow the Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AAMBoatRace, on Twitter @2016boatrace or on Instagram @aamboatrace

Mar 112016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Wednesday 24th February 2016, Aberdeen, Scotland. Aberdeen Universities Boat Race.

Robert Gordon University and the University of Aberdeen will face off on the water at 4.00pm on Saturday, March 12.

Aberdeen Students have produced a parody of Adele’s No.1 hit ‘Rolling in the Deep’ in the run up to one of the city’s top sporting events.

Rowers from Aberdeen University and Robert Gordon University have created thevideo ‘Rowing on the Dee’ to encourage spectators to the riverside to watch the 21st annual Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race this Saturday, 12 March 2016.

Hundreds of spectators are expected to line the River Dee as eighteen students take to the water at 4.00pm to go head to head over a gruelling 3.5km course.

As the students row from the Bridge of Dee to the Aberdeen Boat Club, their focus will be on one thing only: crossing the finish line first and receiving the glory of lifting the coveted trophy.

But the title race, which is sponsored by Aberdeen Asset Management, is not the only attraction on Saturday for those wishing to come down and support the universities as they battle it out on the water – there is plenty of action to entertain sports fans of all ages.

Following the toss for stations at 1.50pm, during which the crews will decide which side of the river they will row on, the alumni crews will race at 2.35pm. This will be followed by the boat club novices, who will race in the Universities’ Second Crew Race at 2.55pm.

The media challenge – which will see reigning champions Original 106fm take on challengers Evening Express, STV and BBC – in a short-course doubles race takes place at 3.40pm. The title race then takes place at 4.00pm, followed by the presentation of trophies at 4.30pm.

University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University Rowers’ video – ‘Rowing on the Dee’

  

Spectators are free to stand along the length of the course to cheer on the crews, however the best viewing locations are considered the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, the Wellington Suspension Bridge and the finish line at the Aberdeen Boat Club.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen, comments:

“The students taking part in the Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race are a credit to their universities. We firmly believe that extra-curricular activities – alongside dedication in the lecture hall – is an important part of the university experience, and helps produce well-rounded, employable young adults. Aberdeen Asset Management is proud to once again sponsor the Universities’ Boat Race, and we look forward to a thrilling day on the river.”

For students wishing to attend the boat race, a number of free shuttle buses have been arranged.

The University of Aberdeen spectators bus will pick up from Hillhead Turning Circle (12.15pm), Aberdeen Sports Village (12.30pm) and the Tilted Wig, Union Street (12.45pm). The Robert Gordon University spectators bus will depart from Holburn Street at Union Grove (12.30pm), The Caledonian Hotel on Union Terrace (12.45pm), RGU Schoolhill (12.45pm) and Marischal College (1.00pm). Return buses depart at 5.00pm and 6.00pm.

For more information about the Follow the Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race on www.facebook.com/AAMBoatRace , Twitter @2016BoatRace and Instagram @aamboatrace

Mar 032016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Wednesday 24th February 2016, Aberdeen, Scotland. Aberdeen Universities Boat Race.

Reigning champions Robert Gordon University will go head to head with the University of Aberdeen on March 12 in the Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race.

The final crews for the 21st Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race were announced on Tuesday.

The 18 students, who will compete for the title come from across the globe – from Perth in Australia to Detmold in Germany. Their intense training and dedication have won each of them a place in their university’s boats for Scotland’s longest running boat race.

The annual event takes place on Saturday March 12 2016 and sees Aberdeen’s two universities, Robert Gordon University and the University of Aberdeen, battle it out in a demanding 3.5km race as they both attempt to be crowned champions of the River Dee.

The boat crews were hand-picked by Aberdeen University Boat Club (AUBC) president Ian Walker, and Robert Gordon University Boat Club (RGUBC) president Erin Wyness after a long and difficult selection process. Each crew member was selected for their determination, technique and speed on the water, with both presidents hoping that they have picked the winning team.

The University of Aberdeen crew members are:

Ian Walker (21) from Edinburgh, Henry Pettinger-Harte (20) from Chester, Laurence Jennings (18) from Aberdeen, Marvin Mücke (21) from Detmold in Germany, Fiona Bell (20) from Glasgow, Isla Ferguson (19) from Edinburgh, Jose van Paassen (26) from Schipluiden in the Netherlands, and Lianne Stevenson (22) from Kirkwall. The cox is Alex Ralston (19) from Perth in Australia.

The Robert Gordon University crew comprises:

Ruth Wright (25) from Turriff, Lewis McCue (21) from Braemar, Anna Kidd (19) from Forfar, Holly Reid (22), Erin Wyness (19), Gary Wilson (24), Gregor Pittendreigh (18) and Josh Quinn (22) all from Aberdeen. The cox is Kathryn Duthie (20) from Dunfermline.

Last year, after a fiercely competitive race along the River Dee, the Robert Gordon University boat crew was crowned race champions with a time of eight minutes and 30 seconds. The rivalry between both teams is set to be at an all-time high at this year’s boat race, as the University of Aberdeen attempt to knock their opponents off the top spot on March 12.

With the boat race now in its 21st year, the annual event has become one of the highlights of Aberdeen’s sporting calendar thanks to the continued support of global investment group, Aberdeen Asset Management.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen, comments:

“We’re once again thrilled to be supporting the Universities’ Boat Race and the city’s top rowing talent. Both crews have continued to train very hard throughout a difficult winter; by doing so they have all shown sheer determination, enthusiasm and commitment towards rowing. Aberdeen Asset Management is dedicated to supporting young talent, and it’s always rewarding to see the achievements both teams have made.”

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of Aberdeen adds:

“The friendly rivalry between both universities reaches its peak during the boat race. Our students always turn out in force to support the University of Aberdeen team, which I know means a lot to the boat crew and helps to give them a big boost on the day of the race. Both clubs always perform exceptionally well, but I’m hopeful that this will be our year.”

Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of RGU said:

“The drive and determination from the boat crews is always wonderful to watch. Both teams have worked very hard in preparation for the race, and I have no doubt that it will be an extremely close competition on the day. The boat race manages to create a real buzz amongst our students, who are all eager to get involved and cheer on their team by the riverside. We’re all very proud of RGUBC and what they’ve managed to achieve over the years.”

Following the toss for stations at 1.50pm, a number of races will take place in the run up to the title event. The Alumni Crews take to the water at 2.35pm while the Universities’ Second Crew Race takes place at 2.55pm. The Media Challenge – will see the Evening Express, STV, and the BBC take on last year’s champions, Original 106fm – takes place at 3.40pm before the main Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race at 4pm.

Follow the Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race on Twitter @2016BoatRace, Facebook www.facebook.com/AAMBoatRace and Instagram @AAMBoatRace.

 

Feb 292016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Lewis McCue 2

Lewis McCue (far left) at the Under 23 World Championships in Bulgaria last year

A Braemar student making waves in rowing hopes to be selected to represent his university in one of the north east’s hardest-fought sporting events. Robert Gordon University student Lewis McCue, an Under 23 Team GB member, hopes to make the cut for the Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race, which takes place on March 12.

Taking up the sport at the age of 12, Lewis rose through the ranks of the Aberdeen Schools’ Rowing Association and has since continued his success while at university.

He first represented Great Britain at a national level at the age of 16, and has gone on to compete in the Junior and Under 23 World Rowing Championships.

Applied sports and exercise student Lewis (20) says,

“Like everyone, my rowing career has had its highs and lows but, through years of hard training, I have built up my performance and ability. I have been very lucky to travel all across Europe to train and compete on the world stage, and had the pleasure of winning three gold medals for my home nation – Scotland – at the Commonwealth Games Regatta.

“My rowing highlight so far is winning a silver medal in the coxless fours at the Under 23 World Championships in Bulgaria last year. I was the only rower in Scotland to be awarded a medal at that level, and the experience really made all the training worthwhile.

“There is no other feeling quite like standing on the podium knowing that you are second fastest in the world at your chosen sport.”

It’s no surprise that Lewis excels in rowing: prowess in the sport runs in the family. In 1958, his grandfather rowed for Oxford in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race and, although not on the winning side, his passion for rowing is something that rubbed off on Lewis from an early age.

Lewis says,

“I’ve spoken to my grandfather many times about his experiences in rowing, and I’m very proud of what he achieved. When I was 16 we were able to row together, which is something I’ll always remember.

“He and my grandmother came out to watch me in Bulgaria last year, which was the first time they had seen me row for Great Britain. It was quite emotional.”

A veteran of the Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race, Lewis hopes to make his third appearance – and win – at the hard-fought race.

He says,

“The Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race is different to other races. At 3.5km, it’s longer than most others and rowing in a mixed crew really changes the dynamic.

“I’ve won the boat race twice before, and I hope to be there again on the start line, ready to lay everything on the line in order to finish first.”

Lewis is one of many rowers hoping to be selected to represent Robert Gordon University at the Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race on March 12. The race will see the university pitted against rivals the University of Aberdeen on a gruelling 3.5km stretch of the River Dee.

The final crews will be selected by each club’s president – Erin Wyness of reigning champions Robert Gordon University Boat Club (RGUBC), and Ian Walker of Aberdeen University Boat Club (AUBC) – who will take performance, ability and determination into account.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen, comments,

“Every year I am impressed by the skill and tenacity of the rowers competing in the Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race. The boat club presidents have a difficult task ahead of them selecting their crews, but whatever the choice I know that the race will be an exciting day for both the rowers in the boats and spectators on the riverbank.”

Last year, RGUBC won their fourth consecutive title race by one and three-quarter lengths in a time of eight minutes and 30 seconds. With AUBC eager to reclaim the title, spectators from across the city are expected to line the river to cheer on the crews as they push themselves to the limit to cross the finishing line.

Follow the 2016 Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race on Twitter @2016boatrace, Instagram @AAMboatrace and Facebook at www.facebook.com/AAMBoatRace

Feb 252016
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, Account Executive, Tricker PR.

ABERDEEN UNIVERSITIES BOAT RACE PREVIEW FOR 2016

Erin Wyness (RGU) and Ian Walker (University of Aberdeen) lead their crews in the 2016 Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race.

The 21st Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race will see the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University competing against one another in a 3.5km race along the River Dee, determining who takes home the much sought-after trophy.
The day begins at 1.50pm with the toss for stations, followed by the universities’ 2nd crew race at 2.10pm, alumni race at 2.35pm and media challenge race at 3.40pm.

The title event begins at 4.00pm.

Last year saw the Robert Gordon University crew row to victory as they claimed their fourth consecutive title race win. Is this the year that the University of Aberdeen manage to knock their competitors off the top spot? Or will the Robert Gordon University remain undefeated for the fifth year in a row? Whatever the outcome, the 2016 event is bound to be a thrilling watch.

Spectators are encouraged to come along and cheer on the teams at all the events on the day.

To follow the Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race on Twitter go to www.twitter.com/2016BoatRace and become a fan of the race on Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/AAMBoatRace.

21st Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race

Saturday 12th March 2016
From the Bridge of Dee to Aberdeen Boat Club
Races from 2.10 PM.
Title race begins at 4.00PM

Dec 312015
 
ABERDEEN UNIVERSITIES BOAT RACE PREVIEW FOR 2016

Erin Wyness (RGU) and Ian Walker (University of Aberdeen) will lead their crews in the 2016 Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race.

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Tricker PR.

Two Aberdeen universities are set to go head to head in a battle of steely determination on the waters of the River Dee.

Student rowers will face off in the Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race – thought to be the city’s hardest-fought sporting competition – on Saturday, March 12 at 4.00pm.

The University of Aberdeen has challenged reigning champions Robert Gordon University (RGU) to a rematch on the River Dee in the hopes they can break RGU’s four year winning streak.

In 2015, RGU won with a time of eight minutes and 30 seconds, beating fierce rivals the University of Aberdeen by one and three-quarter lengths.

Now in its 21st year, the event also includes second crew, alumni and media team races – attracting students, alumni and members of the public down onto the banks of the Dee to cheer on the crews.

Aberdeen University Boat Club president Ian Walker (21) is confident that his crew will be able to live up to their challenge and reclaim the river in March. Medical student Ian, who hails from Edinburgh, says,

“RGU has dominated the river for the last four years, but we are determined to change that. We are already training hard and are confident that 2016 will be the year the trophy will return to the University of Aberdeen boat house.”

Erin Wyness (19), president of RGU Boat Club, is equally determined to bring home the silverware. The Events Management student from Aberdeen says,

“RGU’s rowers this season are on top form, and I really believe that we can extend our winning streak to five years.”

The annual boat race stretches from the Bridge of Dee to the Aberdeen Boat Club, covering 3.5km of water. Each team of eight, and their accompanying coxes, will undergo a gruelling training regime in order to fully prepare for the challenge ahead.

Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of RGU, says:

“The Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race is not just a highlight of the academic year, but also of the city’s sporting calendar. The healthy rivalry between RGU and the University of Aberdeen ensures that each crew strives to perform to the best of their abilities. I, for one, cannot wait to be at the riverside to watch the crews battle it out on the water.”

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, says:

“The passion and determination of both universities’ crews is fantastic. Each year they push themselves to the limit in what is always a close competition which is thrilling to watch from the riverbank. I hope that students, families and the general public will turn out in force to support what is surely Aberdeen’s most exciting annual sporting event.”

Scotland’s longest running boat race continues into its 21st year through the continued support of global investment group, Aberdeen Asset Management.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen, comments:

“The Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race allows the city’s top rowing talent the chance to put into practice the skills they have worked hard to hone over the past year. The rivalry between universities extends beyond the crews on the water and into the spectators on the shore, who are always vocal in their support of the two teams. Aberdeen is delighted to once again back the Universities’ Boat Race in 2016.”

Follow the 2016 Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race on Twitter @2016boatrace, Instagram @AAMboatrace and Facebook at www.facebook.com/AAMBoatRace

Jul 242015
 

The Scottish Government plans to appoint a teacher/ educator/ nurse to oversee every child born. The intent is ‘Getting it right for every child;’ the scheme is commonly known as the ‘Named Person’ scheme. Aberdeen Voice asked the agency responsible for the roll-out of the Named Persons scheme to answer some of the many questions surrounding this controversial scheme. Here are the questions and replies, as well as a few further questions. By Suzanne Kelly

Scottish ParliamentThe controversial ‘Named Person’ scheme is the subject of heated debate and discussion online and offline. The named person will follow a child from birth to age 18, looking at any records they wish concerning the child and its family, such as health, education, police; anything.

The intention may be a good one, to ensure that no child is abused. A number of questions were put to the government, and after a few weeks their spokesperson responded as follows:

Q1.  How do you square this scheme with the opinion of the Law Society, which warns that the move could be illegal under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR), which protects a parent’s “private and family life”.

Reply: 

“The legislation was recently the subject of a challenge in court, heard in November and December 2014. The challenges to the legislation were rejected in their entirety by the Court. The Court found that Part 4 (Named Persons) of the Act does not contravene the ECHR, EU law or the Data Protection Act (DPA).”

Q2.  Do you intend to compel children to answer questions?

Reply:

No. As we have said before, there is no obligation for a parent, child or young person to engage with the Named Person. The legislation brings no new powers for teachers, or any other professionals.”

[At present there are strict laws governing who can access personal data; it is far from clear whether that protection will apply to Named Persons who want to look at files. While the answer says children will not be compelled to answer, it was presented in court that they will indeed be made to answer questions with QC Aiden O’Neil telling the court there is no provision for opt-out http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-30935806 . Anyone who doesn’t want to answer questions, or any family that doesn’t want to participate should be made aware of the answer the government supplied here that says the scheme is not compulsory.]

Q3.  Will children be forewarned before they are questioned?  This apparently did not happen in at least one case.  In Aberdeen, a teenage girl was called out of her class and questioned by someone at first introduced as being a nurse.  She was unprepared and uncomfortable.

 Reply:

The Scottish Government cannot comment on individual cases.”

[The question was whether or not a person would be forewarned they are to be questioned. This was not answered.]

Q4.  The girl was asked questions about her period among other things. Is this sort of questioning what is being rolled out? Please send me a list of questions which children will be asked to answer.

Reply:

“The Scottish Government cannot comment on individual cases. There is no list of questions.”

[If there are no set questions that can be published, then how can a child or a family possibly know what questions and what subjects are covered under this scheme? The absence of set questions leaves this sensitive questioning of a child open-ended, and can be seen as a carte blanche open to abuse.]

Q5.  A concerned parent wanted to know what had transpired and been written up as notes after their child was interviewed.   The local authority planned to charge £10 per page of documentation supplied – and also was arguing that neither parent or child was really entitled to see any reports created by a named person.

Reply:

“The Scottish Government cannot comment on individual cases.

“The cost of requesting information held about you (known as a Subject Access Requests) is regulated by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Parents are entitled to access information about their child by making a SAR if the child is unable to act on their own behalf or has given their consent. Further information can be found here: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1065/subject-access-code-of-practice.pdf

[The costings provided in the document supplied seem very precise. They also seem very low. The scheme will cost central government absolutely nothing. It will cost ‘other bodies, individuals and businesses’ less than £700,000 from now through 2019, and will cost the NHS. The bad news is that these costs which are nothing short of eye-watering will fall on local governments. In 2014-15, local authorities are estimated (rather precisely) to have to spend £78,782,982 on the scheme (I wonder what happens if that rises to £78,782,990?). The figures then shoot up further, costing £107,765,588 the following year, and similar sums going forward. Will we see local authorities hiring squads of child watchers? It certainly looks like a possibility, as Page 47 refers to hiring administrators.]

Q6.  What powers does the named person have over the child?

Reply:

The Named Person builds on the professional responsibilities of those individuals who are identified as Named Persons (such as Health Visitors, Primary Head Teachers and Guidance or Pastoral Care Teachers), and will form part of their day-to-day work. The Act does not introduce any powers over a child for the Named Person role.”

[Some teachers are less than keen to have any further work piled on them. I have also heard from parents of children with special needs who are currently in litigation concerning bruising and possible use of restraints on their children – the very people who are involved in the legal action would have been likely to also be the ‘Named Person.’ This is worryingly going to cause clashes and in such a case it is hard to see how allowing a Named Person access to records about the child’s bruising and police information which could influence legal action is in the child’s best interests.]

Q7.  What forms of records – school, medical, police, other – would a named person be allowed to look at?

Reply:

There are no powers in the Act plans to routinely gather and share information, or records. If there is a concern about wellbeing then relevant public bodies will share information proportionately and if relevant to addressing a concern. The child or young person will know what is being shared, for what reason and with whom and their views will be taken into account.”

[This is somewhat reassuring – but how the scheme will be overseen and what checks and balances exist is unclear.]

Q8.  How much is your scheme estimated to cost at the national level, and how much at the local authority levels for Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow and Aberdeen?

Reply:

“Information on the costs of implementing the Getting it Right for Every Child Programme of which Named Person forms a part, are contained within the Financial Memorandum of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, available here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_Bills/Children%20and%20Young%20People%20(Scotland)%20Bill/b27s4-introd-en.pdf

“The Scottish Government does not hold information relating to the cost for individual local authorities.”

Q9.  There are cases where children with special needs have returned home from specialist schools with injuries and legal action is being taken by parents. If the named person is also someone who might potentially be involved in abuse, what safeguards would be created to remove the named person from overseeing that child? What safeguards would ensure that such a person is banned from looking at medical, police or other records which could interfere with any legal action being taken by parents?

Reply:

The workforce regulation will not change as a result of the Named Person. Anyone undertaking the Named Person role, such as Health Visitors and Head Teachers, will have already undergone a process of checks and vetting through the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme which checks their suitability to work with children.

“The Named Person will be accountable within the management structure already in place for their primary role. They will also be accountable to their professional registration body as is currently the case. Parents and children will be able to hold professionals accountable through the complaints processes in place within agencies.”

[This may be reassuring to some, but as the news attests, there are educators and doctors who have been found guilty of abusing children, all of whom had been passed as suitable to work with young people.]

Q10.  How does the government plan to manage and record instances of named persons accessing a child’s records?  If the Data Protection Act 1998 is to be upheld, how does the scheme plan to manage doing so?

Reply:

“Part 10 of the draft statutory guidance (available here: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0046/00469613.pdf) outlines how the information sharing requirements of the Act should be met in a manner that is consistent with the Data Protection Act and the ECHR.”

My conclusions:

People have come out in support of the scheme. However, ‘Getting it right for every child’ seems to mean treating all children and families in precisely the same way under this new system. With data protection rights being breached with alarming frequency, coupled with no set questions and therefore no clear guidance about what it is appropriate to ask, will there be abuses under the plan?

The Act reads in part: “The Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill is founded on the key principles of early intervention and prevention…” Who is going to decide what ‘intervention’ is required? Who is going to be deciding that some future abuse or problem should be ‘prevented’, and how would this happen? Removal of the child from the family?

It is not so long ago that the shameful Orkney ‘satanic abuse’ scandal saw children being taken away from their families on the trumped-up charge of ‘satanic abuse’, questioned until exhausted under questionable circumstances, and when they begged to be allowed to go back to their families, their wishes went unheeded. Some of those forcibly removed children, taken for their own safety allegedly, wound up being abused when in care.

Some of these children sued the state for their lost childhood.

The state needs to clean up its own sorry systems before deciding it has the right to intervene and prevent. In the words of one of the Orkney children:

“We kept telling them that we had not been abused, but they wouldn’t listen,” she said. “The interview techniques used were designed to break us down.

“To take a child away from her mother at the age of eight is unforgivable. We were part of a normal, happy family and suddenly we were shattered.”  http://www.scotsman.com/news/scotland/top-stories/orkney-abuse-scandal-victim-to-sue-for-lost-youth-1-1139542

The state assumed it knew better than the families and the children then; it is assuming it knows better than the families and children now.

This is a contentious subject; there have seen some heated exchanges online; some people are assuming objections to this scheme must necessarily be motivated by anti-SNP sentiment. This leap of logic must not be allowed to overshadow the facts of what the government wants to implement. Objectors to the scheme include doctors, families, human rights groups and more.

For those concerned about the increasing encroachment by government on the rights of the individual, this scheme seems Orwellian. Indeed, we are going to teach children from the time they can talk that they are answerable to the State, not that the State should and must be answerable to them.

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Sep 222014
 

A freestyle performer who has captured the imagination of the football world with his skills will take centre stage at an event which will draw thousands of students to Aberdeen city centre. With thanks to Paul Smith.

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Freestyle footballer David Mennie is set to thrill Aberdeen crowds.

The Bon Accord & St Nicholas shopping centres will host their annual Lock In on Wednesday (September 24) and this year’s event will have a sporting twist.

The Lock In, open exclusively to students, attracted more than 4,500 people in 2013 and an even bigger turn-out is being predicted as the popularity of the concept grows.

Retailers are offering a range of discounts for the student crowd, with up to 30% off purchases on the night as well as special giveaways.

Around 45 stores in the two centres will be open on the night, which will run from 6.30pm, with a host of entertainment and attractions also on offer – including DJs and pop-up bars.

Renowned Scottish freestyle footballer David Mennie will be thrilling the Lock In crowds with his inventive repertoire, with the Glaswegian’s skills taking him across the globe for performances and competitions which have earned him a place among the world’s elite.

Craig Stevenson, manager of Bon Accord & St Nicholas, said:

“The Lock In is a fantastic evening, bringing students from Aberdeen’s two universities and North East Scotland College together. There is a unique atmosphere and we’re looking forward to another great night. The Bon Accord & St Nicholas retailers really embrace the occasion, with some fantastic offers throughout both centres.

“Having David involved will certainly add to the excitement of the Lock In. He performed in front of tens of thousands at last year’s Champions League final at Wembley but I’m sure the Aberdeen crowd will give him just as warm a welcome.

“There will be lots to see and do on the night, not to mention some fantastic offers, and it will be a lively way to start the term for the students who come along.”

Further information on the Lock In is available at www.bonaccordandstnicholas.com. Issued on behalf of Bon Accord & St Nicholas by Citrus:Mix.