Further embarrassment as Govt panel unable to hit Code of Practice deadline

Remember Holyrood’s education committee blocking the latest named person bill? They wanted to know how it was actually going to work on the ground.

So John Swinney set up a panel to produce a Code of Practice by September 2018.

Turns out it won’t be able to do so on time.

Professor Ian Welsh, Chair of the snappily-titled Getting It Right For Every Child Practice Development Panel, wrote to the Education Secretary to say that “additional time is required” to work on the Code.

His letter, dated 05 July, asked if the panel could revise its previous deadline of September and report back to Swinney “later in autumn” instead.

Swinney replied last week to say he is “happy to accept” the proposal.

The delay is yet another embarrassment for the Government after a string of setbacks to its revised Named Person legislation.

In November 2017, Holyrood’s Education Committee demanded an “authoritative draft” of the Code before any more progress was permitted.

The draft Code supplied to them was so complicated, the Law Society Scotland advised practitioners to have their lawyers on speed dial.

Eight months on, it does not appear that Swinney’s panel has been able to resolve this.

In a way, the Code is emblematic of a wider attempt by the Government to persuade the Scottish public that the Named Person policy is workable.

So far, it has been met by roadblock after roadblock. Perhaps they should conclude that this is an impossible task.

As we have said for months, it is time the Government abandoned these plans altogether.