Fife report: Named Person “may have contributed to confusion”

Last year the tragic and brutal murder of toddler Liam Fee by his mother and her civil partner led to a public outpouring of grief and dismay.

Two-year-old Liam was already on the radar of social services and the police. Fife, where Liam lived, was one of the leading pilot areas for the Named Person scheme.

The Scottish Government claimed in September 2015 that the Fife Named Person pilot scheme was “working well”, and it was held up by the Government as a model for the rest of Scotland to follow.

Following the conviction of Liam’s mother and civil partner, NO2NP said: “Hard questions must now be asked about whether there were missed opportunities to save Liam, and to what extent the Named Person scheme was to blame.”

At the time Deputy First Minister John Swinney attacked us saying: “I think it is atrocious to try to establish any link between the named person proposition and the Liam Fee case because Liam Fee was very much on the radar of social-work services, there was a very strong amount of involvement of social-work personnel.”

He asserted: “It has absolutely nothing to do with named person.”

A significant case review was opened to investigate. The review, led by Dr Jacqueline Mok, was published last month.

Contrary to Mr Swinney’s assertions, the review found that the Named Person scheme “may have contributed to confusion”.

It stated: “The role of the named person under the principles of Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) policy was relatively new in Fife at the time and not always fully understood by professionals, and may have contributed to confusion as to who was co-ordinating care for the family.”

We’ve always said finding a truly vulnerable child is challenging enough. The Named Person scheme risks diverting resources away from those who really need them.

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