MP welcomes final U-turn over Named Person scheme

THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT has conceded that plans for the controversial ‘named person scheme’ cannot be forced on anyone – and local authorities will need to tread carefully before they share sensitive information.

Now Moray’s MP Douglas Ross has welcomed the more cautious approach, saying that the Scottish Government making a U-turn over its plans on sharing sensitive information about children was the correct decision.

The government had proposed giving all children and young people from birth to 18 years access to a named person under the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, part of its ‘Getting It Right for Every Child’ strategy.

However, the scheme stalled last year following claims that parent would be effectively side-lined in the process. The Government had expected to roll the scheme out this summer – but the Supreme Court ruled that aspects of the legislation were unlawful.

MSP John Swinney announced the legislation U-turn in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

Commenting Mr Ross said: “This was something that I opposed from the outset, and the fact that the Scottish Government has been forced into this u-turn is the right decision.

“To rule otherwise would have taken rights away from parents and guardians and is something I have highlighted on behalf of many people in Moray who raised their concerns about the scheme with me.

“Although I welcome the announcement which means that parents who do not accept the advice of named persons will not be viewed with suspicion by the authorities, I have to ask why the SNP were so determined to press ahead with it, despite opposition by the public.”

The MP concluded: “The Supreme Court Ruling made clear that data-sharing aspects of the Act were unlawful, could contravene other legislation and would permit the state intrusion into family life.

“This policy was ill-conceived, has been wrong from the start and has cost the Scottish taxpayer money.”