Government: “No requirement to consider effect on parent”

Almost every time supporters of Named Persons talk about the scheme, they end up making things worse.


Digging a hole

Alan Small is a Government Named Person guru. He was the ‘Information Sharing and Technological Solutions Lead’ for the Scottish Government’s GIRFEC programme (Getting it Right for Every Child – the policy behind Named Persons) and is Chair of Fife Child Protection Committee.

Alan gives presentations on behalf of the Government about sharing confidential data on children and their families. It is a presentation that does nothing whatever to allay the concerns of parents across Scotland who are anxious about the Named Person.

Impact on parents

Let’s take a look at some of the presentation slides.


The sharing of confidential information is arguably the most sensitive aspect of the entire scheme. People simply don’t like the idea of state guardians passing around private data about family life. It’s a huge worry for ordinary mums and dads. But, incredibly, the Government is emphasising that parents’ views about that are irrelevant.

The slide says confidential information “ought to be shared” where,

“sharing outweighs any likely adverse effect on child’s wellbeing – note no requirement to consider effect on parent” [emphasis added].

Far reaching 


Under the apt heading “Impact is far reaching” the presentation provides a long list of people who are legally obliged to share information with Named Persons, including GPs, dentists, sexual health clinic workers and even ‘Porters’.

Remember this is not about reporting abuse or neglect; it’s about passing on information to the State about the day-to-day happiness of young people. (Suggesting that hospital porters must report back to Named Persons fits a pattern. A training event in Borders said taxi drivers are also being recruited.)


Just in case we don’t understand, the presentation spells it out for us: “Duty of confidentiality is not a blockage to sharing”.

Brazen comments about data sharing and dismissive references to parental consent will do little to comfort the thousands of Scots saying ‘NO’ to Named Persons.