Scottish Executive seeks to broaden application of parenting orders

The definition of those who could be subject to a parenting
order has been broadened in an executive amendment to the
Anti-social Behaviour Bill, writes Maggie

The amendment was passed in order to increase the scope of
parenting orders which will now include any “relevant” person who
ordinarily “has charge of or control of a child”. This will include
unmarried fathers and step-parents.

Prior to this amendment  only those with “parental
responsibilities” could be made subject to a parenting order, which
by law is defined under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995.

This automatically applied to mothers, fathers who are or were
married to the mother and to any individual who had sought to apply
for parental responsibilities through the court.

Mary Mulligan, deputy communities minister said that it was
right that those with parental responsibilities could potentially
be made subject to a Parenting Order.

She added however: “There are others who we believe should
be [covered] but are excluded; unmarried fathers would not be
subject to Parenting Orders unless they have gone through the
cumbersome process of applying for parental

As a result, the amendment to the bill will now substitute
“relevant person” and will include unmarried fathers or
step fathers who “could be held to account for deficient
parenting in the same way as those with formal parental

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