The Scottish Mail on Sunday
The Un-named Person debacle
Strangers will f ill in during school holidays
EVERY child will be assigned a ‘complete stranger’ as their Named Person during the school holidays, the Scottish Government has said.
Officials in council education departments will be asked to act as Named Persons when teachers are on holiday.
It means parents will be accountable to back-office staff who have no previous relationship with their child for 13 weeks a year.
The proposal is contained in new guidance issued to councils by the Scottish Government, following concerns raised by teaching unions about how the scheme would operate during school holiday periods.
It undermines the stated purpose of the legislation, which was specifically created to appoint a single, named individual to oversee the wellbeing of every child.
The news comes only days after parliament rejected calls from the Tories to put the scheme on hold.
From August 31, every child will be assigned a state guardian from birth until 18. In most cases, health workers will take on the role until the child reaches school age, when a teacher will take over.
The new guidance says: ‘During school holidays, the local authority must continue to make arrangements for the provision of the Named Person service. This could involve an officer in the education service.’
Last week, it emerged that Moray Council, one of the local authorities piloting the Named Person scheme, was forced to ask as few as eight workers to cover for 80 Named Persons during school holidays.
Critics say replicating the approach across Scotland’s 32 council areas will result in ‘chaos’.
The EIS teaching union has said it would not allow its members to perform the role of the Named Person during school holidays.
Scottish Tory education spokesman Liz Smith said: ‘This is yet another aspect of the legislation which hasn’t been thought through. The result is an extremely unsatisfactory situation for parents, children and the Named Persons.
‘It’s bad enough for families that their child will have a Named Person with the power to intrude on their lives. But for this person to be a complete stranger is worse still.’
A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘We have provided guidance on arrangements over holiday periods to ensure young people’s interests are safeguarded at all times.’
An opinion poll published last week showed nearly two-thirds of Scots believe appointing a Named Person for every child is an ‘unacceptable intrusion’ into family life.
More than 33,000 people have signed a petition calling for the scheme to be scrapped.