Jonathan Djanogly MP
Parliamentary Under-secretary of
State for Justice.
102 Petty France,
SW 1H 9AJ 21th October 2010
Dear Mr Djanogly,
We through personal experience founded Grandparents Apart UK in 2001 in Glasgow. In that time we have had thousands of grandparents’ problems through our helpline and believe it or not the majority of them are English with Welsh, Irish and of course Scottish as well. Our group worked with the Scottish Executive in the creation of The Charter for Grandchildren and we feel should be included to represent our members in England in the talks about the charter and abolishing the leave to apply.
The Charter for Grandchildren was created as advisory only and was made the responsibility of the local authority to implement it. We feel it should have more recognition than just advisory as it easily ignored by professionals that deal in the welfare of children. We lobbied the Glasgow City Council to accept it and if successful thereafter to every council in Scotland and the UK.
Glasgow City Council passed the charter on 18th February 2010 for consideration as to implementing part or whole of it. Shortly after the meeting on 26th August Councillor Sadie Docherty phoned me to say it had been passed and emailed me on 20th October 2010 to say they are waiting on the response from Social Services and the dept for Schools and Families as to how they were going to implement it.
At first our intention was to obtain legal rights of contact for grandparents. This was defeated after a vote in the Scottish Parliament, as not being in the best interests of children. Parents had the idea that grandparents would have more rights than them. We did listen and our new proposal was to give the rights to the children via the Charter for Grandchildren which is family friendly and not treading on parents toes. This ensures children will have the best that grandparents can offer.
What the charter contains is legislated already but it is not focussed enough for easy compliance and a Scottish government by their creation of the charter felt the same way. Our children were losing out on the love, stability and protection grandparents can offer.
We look forward to hearing from you and to be included as we feel our experience is invaluable for the best interests of children.
Jimmy Deuchars (manager)
Grandparents Apart UK
22 Alness Cresnet
Glasgow G52 1PJ
0141 882 5658