The Scottish Mail on Sunday
State snoopers still foisted on families despite being ‘axed’
A MAJOR push to deliver the Named Person scheme will be launched within weeks – despite a Scottish Government pledge to scrap the controversial policy.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney was last year forced to abandon plans for a mandatory ‘state snooper’ for every child.
Supreme Court judges ruled it breached human rights legislation and a panel of experts could not find a way to make the discredited plan comply with the law.
Mr Swinney admitted a workable law was ‘simply not possible’.
But a strategic partner of the Government has now drawn up new advice on ‘delivering’ Named Persons on a non-statutory basis.
Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland will unveil its updated resources this month.
Meanwhile, thousands of primary school children are being ‘allocated’ a Named Person, despite claims the scheme is voluntary.
Last night, Alison Preuss, founder of the Scottish Home Education
Forum, said: ‘The law is being ignored with impunity.
‘Things are just being imposed that people don’t know about. It’s a national scandal.’
Following the legal challenge, Mr Swinney told the Scottish parliament last September that Named Person was ‘simply not possible’.
The SNP plan would have involved professionals – such as teachers or health visitors – monitoring the wellbeing of every child. But Mr Swinney had to concede that the scheme ‘will now not happen’, adding: ‘We will withdraw our Bill.’
However, existing voluntary schemes would continue – and a Scottish Mail on Sunday investigation found 3,000 were active.
The Alliance – funded chiefly by the Scottish Government – will now hold a briefing update workshop entitled ‘Delivering the Named Person’. Updated resources reflecting the ‘new policy position’ will be unveiled. Those attending may include health and council staff.
Meanwhile, the North Ayrshire Children’s Services Plan states families ‘will have an allocated Named Person’ to help ‘identify your family’s wellbeing needs’.
Sociologist Dr Stuart Waiton, of Abertay University, said: ‘This is very confusing. Parents should be concerned about this. On the one hand, the Government appears to say, “We can’t find a framework that can actually allow this Named Person to operate without it being potentially illegal”, yet now we discover there it is.’
Simon Calvert, of campaign group No to Named Persons, said: ‘Since Named Person has been scrapped, there is no requirement for councils to run versions of the scheme, or for families to take advice from any non-statutory Named Person.’
A spokesman for North Ayrshire Council, NHS Ayrshire & Arran, and North Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnership said Named Person support was not mandatory.
The Alliance said: ‘The Named Person aspect of [the] Getting It Right For Every Child [policy] has not been scrapped. The Government’s policy is that a clear point of contact should be made available to children, young people and families if and when they want support.’
The Government said: ‘Named Person services, run by councils and health boards, provide families with a contact who can help them navigate services under current legal powers. Information-sharing must comply with existing laws.’
The Named Person scheme now not happen. We will withdraw our Bill – John Swinney, September 2019