The Scottish Government has finally admitted defeat and dropped its controversial plans to appoint a state guardian for every young person in Scotland.
In a statement, Education Secretary John Swinney today told the Scottish Parliament that the Government would repeal the Named Person elements in the Children and Young People Act 2014, when a suitable legislative vehicle could be identified.
The Named Person scheme had been fiercely criticised by lawyers, parents, teachers, police chiefs and other campaigners.
It was supposed to come into force in August 2016, but following legal action, in which CARE was a co-petitioner, in July 2016 the Supreme Court ruled that the information sharing parts of the scheme were in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Despite introducing a new Bill which aimed at addressing the problems identified by the Supreme Court ruling, the Scottish Government’s Named Person proposals continued to flounder.
Last month, the independent panel set up by the Government to produce a user-friendly code of practice for information sharing said that now was not the right time for the Named Person scheme.
CARE for Scotland Director, Dr Stuart Weir said:
“We welcome the fact that finally after constant delays and many a twist and turn, common sense has prevailed, and this creepy scheme has been consigned to the legislative scrapheap.
“The writing’s been on the wall for the flawed Named Person scheme for some time and today’s decision did feel inevitable, although it has been long overdue.
“We wholeheartedly support measures to protect vulnerable young people, but from the start we have been concerned about the potential for the Named Person scheme to undermine the rights of parents to raise their children in accordance with their values and beliefs.
“The real tragedy here is the persistent failure of the Scottish Government to engage with critics of the scheme.
“From the outset, parents and teachers, legal experts alongside many others repeatedly made the case against the proposals but the Scottish Government, regrettably, pushed ahead regardless, at considerable cost to the taxpayer.
“Now that the Bill has finally been dropped, it is time to move on from this, learn the lessons and make sure future attempts at improving child protection in Scotland uphold the rights of parents, rather than undermine them.”
Notes to editors:
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CARE is a well-established mainstream Christian charity providing resources and helping to bring Christian insight and experience to matters of public policy and practical caring initiatives. CARE is represented in the UK Parliaments and Assemblies.
CARE for Scotland has consistently spoken out about the scheme:
In July 2016, the Supreme Court ruled that the data-sharing elements of the scheme were unlawful: https://care.org.uk/news/latest-news/named-person-scheme-unlawful
In June 2017, the Scottish Government brought forward a new Named Person Bill, which CARE for Scotland cautiously welcomed: https://care.org.uk/news/latest-news/care-scotland-welcomes-scottish-government’s-revision-named-person-scheme
In November 2017, the Education and Skills Committee took evidence on the revised Named Person scheme: https://care.org.uk/news/latest-news/scottish-parliament-committee-completes-its-evidence-taking-named-person-scheme
Then it wrote to the Scottish government and said a majority of its members could not recommend the Bill be approved at Stage 1: https://care.org.uk/news/latest-news/scottish-named-person-scheme-experiences-further-delay
In January 2019, the Independent panel set up to produce a comprehensive and user-friendly code of practice for information sharing told the Education Secretary John Swinney that it was struggling to do so: https://care.org.uk/news/latest-news/fresh-blow-named-person-scheme
Last month, in minutes from March 2019 it emerged that the same panel told the Scottish Government now was not the time to produce the new code of practice: https://care.org.uk/news/latest-news/drop-flawed-named-person-scheme-scottish-government-urged