A problem shared is a problem halved… or not in the case of Named Persons

It’s already six months since the end of John Swinney’s ‘three-month period of intense engagement’… And still no word from the Scottish Government.

Could it be that officials are struggling to resurrect the Named Person scheme after the UK Supreme Court struck down the very heart of it?

The judgment noted that “the sharing of personal data between relevant public authorities is central to the role of the named person” (para. 78).

It then concluded that these information-sharing provisions were:
• Incompatible with the rights of children, young persons and parents under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights;
• May in practice result in a disproportionate interference with the article 8 rights of many children, young persons and their parents, through the sharing of private information;
• Not within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament” deeming the legislation “defective” and blocking it from coming into force.

So, did the Scottish Government get any helpful advice on information sharing during its ‘three-month period of intense engagement’?

Well, a large number of groups including Social Work Scotland, Clan Childlaw, the Office of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner and several of the Third Sector organisations suggested that information sharing provisions should not be included in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act. They expressed a preference for relying on existing legal frameworks and having guidance on the Data Protection Act.

Even at the Information Sharing Stakeholder Reference Group meeting, you know, the GIRFEC data-sharing gurus, it was said that “absolute requirement to share information is not an approach desired by the majority of stakeholders”.

In terms of consent, the NHS GIRFEC leads thought a legislative duty to seek consent might alter commonly understood and accepted practice.

Another group highlighted that “obtaining consent is fundamental to effective support”.

Perhaps not the feedback the Scottish Government was hoping for… might explain why we haven’t heard much from them lately.

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"I oppose the Scottish Government's plan to assign a 'Named Person' to every child in Scotland because it undermines families and diverts resources from children who need them."

I am a resident of Scotland and 16-years-old or over