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Legal charity calls for named person legislation to be scrapped

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Clan Childlaw has said that a new bill does not address previous issues with the plans

A charity has called for legislation aimed at addressing issues with the controversial named person plans to be scrapped.

Clan Childlaw, which gives legal help to Scottish children and young people, has said that new plans put forward could further complicate the system for families.

The Scottish Government has planned for a named person to be appointed to every child in Scotland to monitor their welfare.

However the proposals have drawn opposition due to concerns about information sharing – and the Supreme Court ruled against the scheme last summer.

In response, the children and young people (information sharing) Scotland bill was published in June, aiming to fix flaws identified in the previous law.

However the charity – which highlighted key issues with the original plans – has said that further complex legal framework will not simplify matters.

Clan Childlaw has said that the new bill will not alter the circumstances in which information can be lawfully shared, and that it is unnecessary to legislate to encourage the sharing of information. It said that finances which would have to be spent on the legislation would be better directed to create and implement a clear and robust national guidance.

Alison Reid, principal solicitor at Clan Childlaw, said: “We support the principles of the GIRFEC (getting it right for every child) approach including the need to share information lawfully at an early stage in order to prevent bigger problems developing. However, legislation should be necessary, effective, clear and accessible.

“The bill meets none of those criteria and fails to overcome the difficulties identified by the Supreme Court, in relation to lack of precision and accessibility, and lack of safeguards and consent. Further, it adds nothing to the existing legal framework in which information can currently be lawfully shared. The bill should be withdrawn.”

The Scottish Government said it was confident that the bill had addressed the issues raised by the court.

A spokesman said: “It will bring consistency, clarity and coherence to the sharing of information about children and young people’s wellbeing across Scotland.

“The bill will be subject to scrutiny and approval by the Scottish Parliament and we will continue to listen to the views of stakeholders and the parliament through this process.”



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