Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP today pledged to work with key public services and children’s charities to ensure the successful roll-out of the ‘Named Person’ service for every child.
Following a legal challenge to the policy, the UK Supreme Court’s judgment:
• Ruled that the principle of providing a named person for every child does not breach human rights and is compatible with EU law
• Rejected the petitioners’ argument that the legislation relates to reserved matters
• Ruled that changes are required to the information-sharing provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act to make those provisions compatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Mr Swinney said:
“I welcome the publication of today’s judgment and the fact that the attempt to scrap the named person service has failed.
“The Supreme Court has stated that the aim of the legislation, in promoting and safeguarding the wellbeing of children and young people, is ‘unquestionably legitimate and benign’. It makes clear that the principle of providing a named person to support children and families does not breach human rights.
“The court’s ruling requires us to provide greater clarity about the basis on which health visitors, teachers and other professionals supporting families will share and receive information in their named person role. We will start work on this immediately so we can make the necessary legislative amendments. The service will be implemented nationally at the earliest possible date.
“Ministers remain absolutely committed to the named person policy, developed over several years in consultation with a wide range of individuals and organisations working across Scotland to support children and families. We will work closely with local authorities, health boards and other key public service partners to ensure that those performing the role have the support and guidance they need ahead of implementation.”
The Children and Young People Act 2014 was passed with cross-party support and not a single vote against, by 103 votes to zero, in the Scottish Parliament. The policy was also supported by a majority of MSPs across parties during a parliamentary vote in June.
Among the range of non-government supporters of the named person policy are signatories to the attached letter, published on the Aberlour website.