Scot Gov climbdown on Named Persons triggers expensive retraining exercise

The Scottish Government has finally brought forward new legislation after its Named Person proposals were declared unlawful by the UK Supreme Court almost a year ago.

Judges ruled that the data-sharing provisions at the heart of the scheme would breach human rights and sent the Scottish Government back to the legislative drawing board.

NO2NP spokesman Simon Calvert said: “The new proposals confirm one of the most remarkable, ignominious and expensive U-turns in the history of the Scottish Government and a huge victory for mums, dads and children across the country and the 35,000-plus NO2NP supporters.

“They have now been forced to accept that their original draconian Big Brother proposals were an utter shambles from the start, representing an interference in family life and a fundamental breach of European human rights laws on privacy and information sharing.

“In effect they say the duty of a Named Person will be to consider whether sharing information is likely to promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing of the child or young person. They must also then consider whether sharing that information would be compatible with data protection law, human rights law and the law of confidentiality.

“That’s a 100 per cent climbdown on their original plan of a statutory duty to share information about people’s private lives almost without restriction.

“If they’d only listened at the start, they could have saved huge amounts of time and money. They now have to retrain those who have already been trained to implement an unlawful scheme.”

A financial memorandum published alongside the new Bill suggests that the cost of retraining teachers and NHS staff will top £1m – and that is probably on the optimistic side.

In addition, crucially, the policy memorandum makes clear that the advice etc offered by a named person is voluntary and states:

“Children and young people, and their parents, can accept or reject advice, information, support and help offered by a Named Person under Part 4 of the 2014 Act… This freedom of choice must be made clear to them. Refusal to accept advice or services offered or refusal to co-operate with a child’s plan is not in itself to be taken as evidence of a risk of harm.”

The Deputy First Minister John Swinney, speaking today, said: “We must ensure that we get it right for every child”.

But it’s quite clear they didn’t get it right – and actually got it completely wrong.