FIRST MINISTER REITERATES CLAIM ‘NAMED PERSON SCHEME NOT OBLIGATORY’

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reiterated her claim that the Named Person scheme is an ‘entitlement’ and ‘not an obligation’ when questioned in Holyrood today.

WATCH: First Minister reiterates ‘no obligation’ claims during FMQs

Speaking during First Minister’s Questions, she said: “Well as I have said and I’ll say again today, the Named Person scheme is an entitlement. I think it is a good and sensible entitlement. It is not an obligation. It helps children and families get the support they need from services, when they need it.”

She stated: “It does not in any way, shape or form replace or change the role of the parent or carer or undermine families.”

But just earlier this week her own Government published a response to a UN committee stating that “every child in Scotland will have a Named Person who will receive training in identifying, assessing and responding to their needs”.

And the Named Person legislation not only neglects to mention parental opt-out, but also completely misses the entire concept of parental consent.

Her own Government’s QC, Alistair Clarke, said during the Named Person legal challenge at the Court of Session that to allow an opt-out would “defeat the purpose of the scheme”.

The First Minister, responding to questions from Ruth Davidson MSP, leader of the Conservatives, told the chamber today: “The fact of the matter is that the children and parents are not legally obliged to use the Named Person service, or take up any of the advice or help that is offered to them”.

She added that, “parents are not legally obliged to use it because it is an entitlement not an obligation. I think that’s sensible, making sure it is there for everybody when they do need it, if they do need it, but not obliging anybody to use it if they feel they don’t need it.”

The First Minister was accused of sending “mixed messages” during an interview with BBC Scotland’s Political Editor Brian Taylor last week, when she said that the Named Person scheme was “not mandatory”.

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