Fresh delay for Named Person scheme after MSPs stall progress

© DC Thomson
Liz Smith, the Tory MSP

The Named Person scheme hit another roadblock when a Holyrood committee stalled its progress.

MSPs voted against endorsing the new approach on Wednesday, which the Scottish Government drew up in response to the Supreme Court ruling that some information-sharing provisions were unlawful.

It is yet another delay to the scheme, which was approved by the parliament in 2014 but has faced legal hurdles from campaigners fearing intrusion into family life.

The controversial initiative assigns a named person, usually a teacher of health visitor, to every child in Scotland to oversee their welfare.

The Scottish Parliament’s education committee said they could not wave through the bill to the next stage because the draft code of practice that named persons must follow is still not clear enough.

Liz Smith, for the Scottish Conservatives, said the redrawn code has not addressed the fears raised by those set to be named persons.

“Frankly, this whole parliamentary process is a mess and the responsibility for that lies solely with the Scottish Government,” she added.

Ross Greer, for the Scottish Greens, said: “The mess made by the Scottish Government over this information sharing bill should not be seen as a reflection on the principles of the much needed Named Persons scheme.

“This bill can still proceed – it has not been rejected.”

John Swinney, the Education Secretary, said the delay is not necessary, adding the committee has been asked to “signal its support for the general principles of the legislation” and there will be further opportunity to scrutinise the code of practice.