Delay in ‘named person’ legislation

Borders MSP John Lamont
Borders MSP John Lamont

The UK Supreme Court has ruled that more work needs to be done on Scottish Government ‘Named Person’ plans before they can be put into action.

The introduction of every child in Scotland being given a named person (teacher, health visitor etc) to support them and their families was part of the Government’s Children and Young People (Scotland) Act.

All political parties agreed with the principles behind the Act but there was opposition to the section about creating ‘named persons’ and a legal challenge has been successful.

Borders MP John Lamont voiced his opposition to named persons and the issue was part of the pre Scottish Parliament election hustings debate in Duns.

Judges have ruled that some proposals breach rights to privacy and a family life under the European Convention on Human Rights and that the sections which would allow information sharing between public bodies without the consent of parents were not within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament.

The legislation can not go ahead now until the Scottish Parliament rectifies the legislation.

Mr Lamont MSP said: “This is a really important ruling by the most senior court in the UK. Despite repeated warnings the SNP ploughed ahead anyway.

“Parents in the Borders are rightly concerned with this scheme, which is illiberal, invasive and will divert help away from those who need it most.

“This ruling should be a wake-up call to the SNP. In light of this ruling, the Scottish Government should pause the legislation and rethink its whole approach.

“Serious questions remain as to why legislation was allowed to pass in the first place.”

In an upbeat response to the ruling Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The Supreme Court has stated that the aim of the legislation is ‘unquestionably legitimate and benign’. The court’s ruling requires us to provide greater clarity about the basis on which health visitors, teachers and professionals supporting families will share and receive information in their named person role. We will start work on this immediately.”