Named Person: Legislation planned to support children and their families

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.

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4 thoughts on “Named Person: Legislation planned to support children and their families

  1. Lochside

    Naturally BBC Scotland let the prolific liar Ruth Harrison rubbish the legislation and distort the Supreme Court decision as a ‘rejection’ without contradiction nor without pointing out she supported it originally in principle. The same way she supported Scotland staying in the Single Market before turning back into the toon clock facing all ways.

    They are’ managing’ her blatant untruths in the same way that they did in England with UKIP. The fact that 27% are claimed to support the enemies of the Scottish people proves that the constant attacks on our NHS, Police, laws, education our capacity to self govern, our actual identity itself plus the ubiquitous ‘Metro’ at every train station is eroding people’s judgement and resolve.

    ‘Do the day job’ she screeches whilst her Head office is dismantling the same institutions at a rate of knots in the ‘homeland’. This despicable and brazen liar who contradicts herself at every turn, is supported at every risible utterance by the only employers she has ever had, prior to scraping into her PR MSP role, …coincidentally the same BBC that control the uoside down narrative in Scotland’s media. If it wasn’t so bloody serious it would be beyond parody.

  2. Kenneth Coutts

    I am all for the named person and anything that protects children and families.
    I also understand the particular details around the concerns on data.
    Good to see and hear the ongoing constructive debates with amendments etc.
    My biggest concern is , what is happening in our societies right now with vulnerable families and young people.
    Food banks, benefit sanctions low earnings, evictions, and the effects of all these things to child education.

  3. Scunnered Scot

    “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”.

    Swinney is fudging the issue again. The Supreme Court made it quite clear that ‘wellbeing’ is not defined and that ‘wellbeing’ cannot be used as a trigger to share information –

    “97. But the task facing the information holder is a daunting one because the Act does not address the factors to be considered in an assessment of proportionality and the RDSG gives exiguous guidance on that issue. The provisions of the Act appear to point toward a more relaxed approach to disclosure than is compatible with article 8. Section 26(1) and (3) oblige the information holder to provide information which meets the criteria set out in subsections (2) and (4). Those criteria include an assessment of whether the information is likely to be relevant to the exercise of functions which may affect the wellbeing of the child or young person. In turn, the assessment of that wellbeing under section 96, as explained by the RDSG, involves the use of very broad criteria which could trigger the sharing of information by a wide range of public bodies (as to which see para 5 above) and also the initiation of intrusive inquiries into a child’s wellbeing. In our view, the criteria in sections 23(3), 26(2) and 26(4) by themselves create too low a threshold for disclosure (as explained at para 56 above), and for the overriding of duties of confidentiality in relation to sensitive personal information”.

    Swinney ought to drop the word ‘wellbeing’ and use the accepted term, ‘risk of harm’.

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