Named persons and other service providers will have the power to share information where it promotes, supports or safeguards the wellbeing of a child or young person.
Speaking in Parliament, Deputy First Minister John Swinney also made clear that information sharing must also remain compatible with the laws on data protection, human rights and confidentiality.
Mr Swinney was responding to last year’s Supreme Court ruling on the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 and subsequent, extensive engagement on how measures relating to information sharing could be clarified. New legislation will be introduced before summer recess.
Mr Swinney said:
“As I made clear in my statement to Parliament in September, the Scottish Government remains absolutely committed to the Named Person service as a way to support children and their families. It ensures early support is available for all families because it’s simply impossible to predict if or when they might need extra help.
“Last year the Supreme Court ruled definitively that the intention of providing a Named Person for every child to promote and safeguard their wellbeing was ‘unquestionably legitimate and benign’.
“However, their judgment required us to change the provisions relating to information sharing. This has presented us with the opportunity to improve the service and reassure parents and practitioners and the wider public that it will work with and for families.
“Young people and families should have confidence that information will be shared only where this can be done in a manner which respects their rights under data protection law, human rights and the law of confidentiality.
“The approach I have set out today seeks to bring consistency, clarity and coherence to the practice of sharing information about children and young people’s wellbeing across Scotland.”
Scottish Labour is seeking exemptions from the legislation for 16 and 17 year olds. However Mr Swinney pointed out that the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child included young people up to the age of 18.