‘Named person scheme needs scrapped’

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Lack of funding in the Borders for the Scottish Government’s named person scheme has led Scottish Conservative candidate John Lamont to call for its immediate scrapping.

A freedom of information request revealed that in order to monitor and draw up reports for the 14,500 school age children in the region, 237 named persons will have to be appointed and trained. While most of these named persons will be existing staff, no extra money has been provided by the Scottish Government to meet the costs of training and carrying out the duties expected under the scheme.

SBC told Mr Lamont that “no additional budget has been allocated by the council to facilitate implementation [of the named person scheme]” meaning the costs will have to be taken from elsewhere at a time when SBC’s budget has been slashed by the Scottish Government by £7million this year.

NHS Borders confirmed to him that the only funding it has received from the Scottish Government was just over £40,000 for two extra health visitors to meet the demand for the scheme to cover 5,300 children up to the age of five.

Mr Lamont, a critic of the named person scheme, said: “These figures confirm what we feared, that the SNP’s controversial named person scheme will divert already overstretched resources away from those who need support.

“It is frankly ridiculous to expect busy head teachers to be able to fulfil their roles monitoring and reporting on 14,500 children in the Scottish Borders without any extra money for training or cover.

“The named person scheme is an unacceptable intrusion into family life, but worse than that, it will impose layers and layers of extra bureaucracy in a system which is already creaking.”