Deputy First Minister John Swinney has confirmed that the Scottish government would not commence the named person provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 on 31 August, pending changes to the act following the Supreme Court judgment on named persons last month.
An order is required to stop commencement of parts 4 and 5 of the 2014 Act. In addition, the other secondary legislation that implements parts 4 and 5 (the Named Persons Order, Child’s Plan Order and the Complaints Order) requires to be revoked. The necessary orders were formally laid before the Scottish Parliament today.
Mr Swinney said: “In its judgment last month, the Supreme Court dismissed a number of challenges to the named person policy and described its aims as ‘unquestionably legitimate and benign’. However, the court’s ruling made clear the Scottish government needs to amend the information-sharing provisions in the 2014 Act and provide greater clarity about the basis on which information will be shared to ensure compliance with the ECHR.
“I confirmed earlier this month that the Scottish government is therefore not commencing the named person provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 on 31 August, and ministers have today lodged the necessary order to address this point.
“We remain firmly committed to implementing the named person service to support children and their families. We will engage with key partners across public services, the third sector, Parliament and the wider public to take this forward.”
He added: “I am determined to see the service implemented as soon as practicable. There will be a named person service, its availability guaranteed by law to those who want to use it. A commencement date for the policy will brought forward as part of the parliamentary process. The issue is one of timing not of policy.
“Given my earlier commitment to keep Parliament fully informed about developments, I intend to make a statement to MSPs in the first week after the summer recess, outlining how we are working towards the implementation of the named person service and to achieving the shared objectives of Getting it Right For Every Child that have been developed across the country, and endorsed by Parliament, over the last decade.”