‘Plan B’ to by-pass MSPs and implement Named Person scheme by the back door, secret papers reveal

The Scottish Government is considering controversial proposals to implement the detested named person scheme “by the back door” … even if MSPs refuse to support changes to the law.

Discussion of a so-called “Plan B” is revealed in documents which have only been made public, after a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by NO2NP stalwart Lesley Scott.

The papers were produced following a meeting of unnamed top level government officials and advisors in February this year.

An annex under the headline “CONTINGENCY” states: “Contingency plan? What if the legislation is not passed?”

And adds: “Plan B for if Bill fails to make sure parts 4&5 can be implemented without information sharing.”

The scheme has been riddled with problems and last month a further delay was revealed.

John Swinney set up a panel to produce a Code of Practice by September 2018, after Holyrood’s Education and Skills Committee said it would not pass the legislation without one. But Professor Ian Welsh, chair of the panel, wrote to Mr Swinney to inform him that the panel would not be able to meet this deadline.

Lesley Scott of the TYMES Trust, said: “These worrying documents show the focus is clearly on implementing Named Person by the back door, regardless of whether the new Bill gets through Parliament. Clearly, we are now dealing with a Government which is ignoring the UK Supreme Court, has no regard for the elected representatives of the Scottish people and is determined to shun public opinion.

“They are riding roughshod over the democratic system in pursuit of a flawed, failed and discredited project.”

Ms Scott asked for all details from three key meetings of the Statutory Guidance Framework Group tasked to review the named person scheme in October and December last year and in February this year.

Only one set of minutes was released and NO2NP has been angered by the decision of the Scottish Government to redact the names of every single person who attended the key meetings.

Ms Scott has now contacted the Information Commissioner’s Office which deals with FoI appeals seeking a review of this decision.

Senior social worker Maggie Mellon, former chair of the Scottish Child Law Centre, said: “The names of all present – including the chair – are all redacted. So much for open government. There is no way of identifying which agencies are providing wrong advice or whether the persons present represent their colleagues and agencies properly.

“Is it now so toxic to be associated with the named person scheme that people are not willing to have their names made known?”

She added: “These are presumably many of the same people who advised the government so badly first time round, that breaching confidentiality is ok even when any concerns fall well below the proper threshold. What is so important about this flawed scheme that it has to be pushed through?”

NO2NP spokesman Simon Calvert, said: “This proposed scheme was intrusive, incomprehensible and illegal. It still is, and continued implementation of it must cease. As must plans to continue its implementation in the future.

Read more:
The Scotsman: Government ready with Plan B for Named Person
The Times: Scottish campaigners against the named person scheme fear the government will implement it through ‘the back door’

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