Named Person Scheme must be Responsive to Parents Needs
Today, John Swinney addressed parliament about plans to reintroduce the Named Person Scheme after taking into consideration the Supreme Court’s ruling that the scheme was not compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The named person policy, introduced as part of the Children and Young People Scotland Act of 2014, sets out to appoint a single point of contact, such as a teacher or health visitor, to look after the wellbeing of all children up to the age of 18. However, there is serious unease about how this private data will not only be used and shared, but how it could undermine the role of parents in family life.
CARE is part of the No to Named Persons (NO2NP) coalition, which led the successful opposition to the Scheme culminating in the Supreme Court defeat. CARE has also provided evidence in response to the concerns of the original bill and participated in the recent consultation exercise. We were disappointed, however, that John Swinney himself did not meet with us to discuss our concerns.
John Swinney aims to introduce the new Bill ahead of the summer recess.
CARE’s Scotland Parliamentary Officer, Dr Gordon Macdonald who gave evidence in the government consultation on the Named Person Scheme said:
“CARE still has concerns about how the Named Person Scheme will work in practice
“John Swinney has not clarified whether the scheme will be proactive or will be responsive to parent’s needs. This needs to be urgently addressed”
“Whilst CARE is pleased that there has been a consultation on how data will be shared, there has been little attempt to define key terms in the Bill which could potentially lead to huge discrepancies in its operation.'
“For example, the term ‘well-being’ is not defined in the Act and the Government has no plan to do so in the new legislation. This leaves judgements about information processing and sharing open to subjective interpretation. Providing a definition to this term would make the bill far more robust and provide clear consensus on when data can be shared.”
“CARE hopes that Mr Swinney uses the evidence gained during the consultation to put parents at the heart of this bill, as they are in the best place to take care of their children”
Notes to the editor:
For more information please contact Rachael Adams on 020 7227 4708 / 07851 153693 or Rachael.firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2016 ComRes found that only 24% of Scots thought that every child should have a state-appointed named-person. Almost two-thirds believed it was ‘an unacceptable intrusion into family life’
CARE is part of the NO2NP campaign group, alongside other leading Christian charities (the Christian Institute, TYMES Trust and the Family Education Trust.)
For more information, please visit: www.no2np.org
Read about the Supreme Court’s decision to rule against the named person bill here https://care.org.uk/news/latest-news/named-person-scheme-unlawful