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Drop flawed Named Person scheme, Scottish Government urged

19 August 2019

The Scottish Government has come under fresh pressure to drop its flawed and controversial Named Person policy after an independent panel of experts concluded a key part of it was unworkable.

The plan was to appoint a single point of contact, such as a teacher, to look out for the well-being of children 18 and under.

CARE helps challenge scheme in the courts

It was supposed to come into force in August 2016, but campaigners, including CARE launched a legal challenge, arguing that the data sharing elements were illegal.

In July 2016, The Supreme Court ruled that the information-sharing parts of the plan were in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In November 2017, Education Secretary John Swinney set up an independent panel to draft a code of practice for information sharing.

But in January this year, the independent panel admitted it was struggling to do so and the chair of the panel wrote to Mr Swinney saying, “The panel have found it challenging to achieve this without making the draft code detailed and complicated.”

Not the right thing to do at this time

Now, in minutes published only last week which relate to a panel meeting in March this year, the panel has found that “a statutory Code of Practice that must be applied in all situations is not the right thing to do at this time.”

Knock-out blow for the scheme

A spokesman for the No to Named Person Campaign (NO2NP) said: “This might just be the knockout blow to the Scottish Government’s state snooper scheme. Mr Swinney promised they would develop a workable, comprehensive and user-friendly code of practice. They have, unsurprisingly, concluded this is impossible.”

CARE’s James Mildred said: “We’ve always argued that the named person scheme is a valiant attempt to address a genuine issue across Scotland – just in the wrong way.

“It’s time Mr Swinney accepted the inevitable and instead of wasting more time trying to make this flawed scheme work, invested time and energy in other initiatives to help protect vulnerable children across Scotland.”

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To find out more about CARE’s work and concerns about the scheme, see here.

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