Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

John Swinney says ‘named person’ plans remain on track after Supreme Court ruling

Deputy First Minister John Swinney.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

Campaigners have won a challenge at the Supreme Court against proposals to appoint a named person for every child – but the Scottish Government has vowed to press ahead with the controversial scheme.

The justices said the Scottish Government must change its information-sharing provisions regarding the scheme so they are compatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The court ruled that information sharing provisions proposed under the 2014 Act may result in disproportionate interference with Article 8 rights under the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to a family and private life.

As presently drafted they risk breaching important regulations protecting privacy and confidentiality.

Judges have given the Scottish Government 42 days to rectify their legislation.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the Scottish Government would continue to work with key public services and children’s charities to roll out the scheme and claim the ruling vindicated the proposals.

Swinney: Legal challenge ‘has failed’

He said: “I welcome the publication of today’s judgement 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 well-being 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 Christian Institute co-ordinated the legal action and director Colin Hart said after the decision was announced: “We all accept the good intentions behind this law but a universal data-gathering scheme like this was always going to cause major problems.

“We are very happy with today’s ruling, which vindicates what we and others have been saying for years.

Campaigner: ‘Devastating blow for Scottish Government’

“The court even invoked the spectre of totalitarian regimes in its criticism of the plans. This is a devastating blow for the Scottish Government which sought to brush off all criticism of its named person scheme as ‘scaremongering’.”

He added: “The Supreme Court cited international human rights laws that protect the family and concluded ‘Within limits, families must be left to bring up their children in their own way’.

“This strong endorsement of family autonomy will be welcomed by families all across the UK, including Christian families, who sometimes sense a creeping intolerance from government officials.”

He said: “Today’s ruling will come as a great relief to millions of people. Innocent Scottish families no longer have to wonder whether police, health and education officials are legally allowed to pass around sensitive medical data and family histories behind their backs. They are not.

“This ruling is crystal clear that the named person scheme’s cavalier approach to handling private information is unlawful and must not happen.

“The ruling protects families all across the UK from unwarranted invasion of their privacy by the state. We urge local and national government agencies to read the ruling carefully and amend their policies and practices to ensure they properly respect the privacy and autonomy of innocent families.”

Safety net

The scheme was approved by Holyrood as part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 but an appeal against it has been mounted by four charities and three individuals.

Under the measure, a single point of contact, such as a teacher or health visitor, would be assigned to look out for the welfare of children under 18.

The named person is required to exercise statutory functions, including providing advice, information or support where appropriate to promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing of the child or young person.

Scottish ministers say the service would act as a safety net to help families and children if they need it while opponents argue the move breaches the human rights of parents.

Those involved in the No To Named Persons group (NO2NP) previously lodged a petition for a judicial review at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, Scotland’s top civil court, challenging the lawfulness of the provisions but it was rejected.

Judges then refused a later appeal against the decision.

An appeal was then heard before a five-strong panel of justices at the Supreme Court in London in March.

The Supreme Court was asked to decide whether the provision is compatible with fundamental common law rights and the European Convention on Human Rights, and laws on the sharing and disclosure of information from Westminster and the European Union.

The group challenging the legislation is spearheaded by The Christian Institute, Family Education Trust, The Young ME Sufferers (“Tymes”) Trust and Care (Christian Action Research & Education) lodged a petition alongside three individual people.

Several children’s charities and professional organisations have put their name to a letter in support of the legislation.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said at the time of the Supreme Court hearing: “This Government is absolutely committed to ensuring that all our children get the best possible start in life. Getting It Right for Every Child, which includes the named person service, is an investment in all our futures.
“It aims to change the culture and practice of professionals, giving them the confidence, skills and knowledge they need to put children’s needs and interests at the heart of services and support they provide for families.”