Named person plan suffers fresh setback

Written by Gemma Fraser on 18 January 2019 in News

A panel set up to devise a code of practice said it is struggling to do so without making it too complicated

Image credit: Parliament TV

Plans to assign a state-appointed ‘named person’ to every child in Scotland have suffered a new setback.

An independent panel tasked with devising a code of practice to address concerns over information sharing has told Education Secretary John Swinney it is finding it “challenging” to do so.

The controversial plan was rejected by the UK Supreme Court in 2016 after a legal challenge was lodged by campaigners over the way private information is shared among schools, health visitors and other public bodies.

Professor Ian Welsh, chair of the panel, wrote to Education Secretary John Swinney to inform him about the latest problems they have encountered.

He said: “For the proposed code to be effective in providing the safeguards looked for in the 2016 Supreme Court ruling, these safeguards would need to be placed directly into the draft code.

“The panel have found it challenging to achieve this without making the draft code detailed and complicated. This runs contrary to a desire for the current draft code to be simple, concise and accessible.”

In a letter to Clare Adamson MSP, convener of the Education and Skills Committee, Swinney said: “The chair has informed me via his letter that the panel intend to initiate a short period of engagement with the intention of seeking constructive feedback from key stakeholders on their early findings.

“The panel, through their engagement, will explore views on what would best support sharing of necessary and proportionate information.

“The panel intend to deliver a report on their findings as soon as practicably possible after this engagement period has ended.”

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