Named person legal appeal dismissed
Named person plans do not infringe on rights of parents, court rules
Government plans for every child to have a single point of contact for services do not infringe on the rights of parents or children, the Court of Session has ruled.
The ‘named person’ scheme formed part of last year’s Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, but critics said it would be unnecessary interference in the lives of families, and could result in children no longer being able to have confidential discussions with professionals.
A petition for a judicial review of the provision was rejected by the court in January, and today the appeal against the decision was also rejected by three judges, led by the Lord Justice Clerk, Lord Carloway.
Lord Carloway said: “Essentially all that the legislation does, and is intended to do, is to provide for every child and his or her family a suitably qualified professional who can, if necessary, act as a single point of contact between the child and any public service from which the child could benefit.”
The judges acknowledged the policy was informed by experts in child welfare, health and education with the intention of putting the best interests of the child at the heart of decision-making.
Children’s Minister Aileen Campbell said: “We know parents and carers are, with very few exceptions, the best people to raise their children. We are pleased the court has confirmed that the legislation will have no effect on the legal, moral or social relationships within the family and we hope the petitioners and all those who have expressed concern on this aspect also take comfort from that.
“The named person role was introduced to provide a single point of contact for families and builds on the supportive role that teachers and health professionals have long offered to children, young people and parents,” she said.
The decision was welcomed by children's charities, teaching union the SSTA and The Royal College of Nursing.
RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: “We have confidence in in the named person model and the protection and support it will offer to young people and their families across Scotland.
“But for the legislation to be successful adequate resources must be in place to support those, like health visitors, who will take on the new role.”
The No To Named Persons (NO2NP) campaign said it would continue to challenge the policy.
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