The Scottish Government’s Named Person Scheme has been delayed for a year in order for a period of “intense engagement” to take place as to necessary amends which need to be made. Speaking on behalf of the Scottish Government, Education Secretary – John Swinney, said that he hoped the scheme could be implemented by August 2017.
The Named Person Scheme is a part of the Scottish National Party (SNP) “Getting it Right for Every Child Framework (GIRFEC) which aims to provide every child with access to a named person such as a health worker or teacher, who will act as a single point of contact.
The Supreme Court ruled in July 2016, that data protection sharing provisions were at risk of being in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights under Article 8 – the right to privacy and a family life. The court did recognise going forward however, that the scheme was “unquestionably legitimate”.
The fear is that instead of facilitating access to services and protecting children in need who are vulnerable, the scheme would detract from targeted interventions for high-risk children and ‘erode’ parental rights.
Mr Swinney added “We recognise that information-sharing has been an important issue for practitioners and the public alike. We want to ensure that there is a clear consensus across Scotland on how information-sharing should operate. That must include the essential principle of consent, and the rare occasions when it is not appropriate to require or seek it.”
The Supreme Court challenge was brought by the NO2NP campaign which is a coalition including The Christian Institute, Care (Christian Action Research and Education) and the Family Education Trust.