Scottish Government u-turn on named person legislation

The Scottish Government this week announced significant changes to its named person scheme.

The scheme, subject to a successful legal challenge by the No2NP coalition in the UK Supreme Court, has been heavily criticised over infringement of parental rights and excessive data sharing powers.

Simon Calvert of the No2NP coalition said that it was “one of the most remarkable, ignominious and expensive u-turns in the history of the Scottish Government”.

The changes to the legislation mean public bodies can only share information about children if it is likely to ­‘promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing’ of the child. Parents will also be entitled to ignore the advice of a named person. A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland welcomed the new legislation saying: “While acknowledging the Scottish Government’s desire to protect vulnerable children, legislation must always balance protection with the right of parents and children to live a family life in private.

“The original legislation failed to strike a reasonable balance; hopefully the proposed changes will remedy this failure. Ensuring that public bodies can only share information about children if it is likely to ‘promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing’ of the child, seems a more sensible approach.

“It is reassuring to know that public bodies must consider whether sharing the information would be compatible with data protection, human rights and confidentiality laws.

“Respect for parental primacy must be at the heart of government action. In this context, the fact that parents will not be forced to take the advice of a named person, as stated in the policy memorandum, is also to be welcomed.”

Read more at the Scottish Catholic Observer: http://www.sconews.co.uk/latest-edition/53410/parents-welcome-government-u-turn-on-named-person-scheme/