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Swinney: Not all named person debate has been helpful

 

John Swinney explains why he believes having a named person for every child will improve family life in Scotland

Improving the lives of all our children and their families is critically important to both the Scottish Government and the future of Scotland itself. I know the voluntary sector shares this view.

We have announced the way forward for a crucial part of our work to support the wellbeing of our children and young people, the named person service, following a judgment by the Supreme Court last year.

While the judgment noted that the intention of providing a named person for every child to promote and safeguard their wellbeing was ‘unquestionably legitimate and benign’, it highlighted that parts of the legislation dealing with how information could be shared were not compatible with other laws.

That gave us an opportunity to return to parliament to outline how we plan to strengthen the law to ensure that rights under the laws of data protection, confidentiality and human rights are protected.

Earlier this month I confirmed that named persons will need to consider whether sharing information relating to a child would promote or safeguard the wellbeing of a child while making sure that sharing such information is compatible with existing laws on data protection, confidentiality, and human rights.

This will not only strengthen and clarify how the service will work but also address some of the concerns raised about the idea of a named person itself.

The government remains committed to getting it right for every child and the named person service is a simple but important idea that came from families themselves.

As I – and MSPs of other parties – noted there has been plenty said about the Named Person service in the last few years, not all of it helpful, not all of it true.

We want to ensure the right help for children and families is offered by the right people at the right time. This has been consistently supported by parties across the political divide.

Having a clear, named contact such as a health visitor or teacher, that you know you can go to for advice and support about any aspect of your child’s wellbeing can be helpful for children as well as their mums, dads and other carers.

I know from my own experiences as a dad that you simply don’t know what could be around the next corner. It is almost impossible to predict if or when your family might need some extra help.

Whether it is difficulties posed by the debilitating cycle of deprivation, an unexpected diagnosis of a medical condition or a breakdown of family relationships there are clearly times when our kids and their families will benefit from a clear point of contact.

The changes to the law I will be bringing forward in the coming months should help assure parents that the wellbeing of their children are of the utmost importance to me and this government.

The support that the named person service can offer could make a crucial difference to the wellbeing of children across Scotland.

John Swinney MSP is the Scottish Government’s deputy first minister.

For more information on the named person scheme visit the Scottish Government's website on Getting it Right For Every Child (GIRFEC).

 

Comments

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Gordon Macdonald
over 3 years ago
It was the aim of promoting wellbeing which was deemed to be legitimate and benign not necessarily the means adopted by the Scottish Government to do so. However, the whole judgement poses a significant problem for the Government in seeking to achieve its objective of intervening on wellbeing grounds where there is no consent from parents to do so. If Mr Swinney is going to claim that there has been misinformation in the debate, then he really needs to stop spinning the Supreme Court's judgement in a way which misrepresents the seriousness of the Government's problem in reconciling the CYP Act with human rights. Rather than telling the Scottish Parliament that 'wellbeing' is defined in the Act, he should admit that the Supreme Court noted that 'wellbeing' is not defined in the Act and provide an adequate definition of that term.
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M
over 3 years ago
Mr Swinney and the SNP are the only ones that continues to spin misinformation on Named person and the Supreme Court Ruling regarding parts 4 & 5 of CYPA(S)14.http://randomthoughtsofscotland.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/who-are-you-trying-to-kid-mr-swinney.html
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C
over 3 years ago
It seems that Mr Swinney is expecting Named Persons to have an extensive knowledge of data-sharing legislation so they do not act illegaly. Good luck to any Named Person
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M
over 3 years ago
C wrote :-"It seems that Mr Swinney is expecting Named Persons to have an extensive knowledge of data-sharing legislation so they do not act illegaly. Good luck to any Named Person"Seriously do wish the named person good luck as to full understanding of DPA they would also have to full understanding ECHR as data protection must comply to it.
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Gordon Macdonald
over 3 years ago
If the Scottish Government wants to improve wellbeing and with over 50% of children in Scotland being born out of wedlock, perhaps it should encourage people to get married and to stay together for life. That is far more likely to improve children's wellbeing than all the SHANARRI indicators, wellbeing assessments and Named Persons.https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2017/03/27/in-europe-cohabitation-is-stable-right/
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Simon
over 3 years ago
What the Supreme Court actually called "benign" was: “The aim of… the promotion and safeguarding of the wellbeing of children and young persons”.No one ever took issue with the aim. But the means chosen to pursue the aim - the Named Person scheme - was struck down for breaching human rights.Here's what the court actually said about the Named Person scheme:“…the sharing of personal data between relevant public authorities is central to the role of the named person … the operation of the information-sharing provisions of Part 4… will result in interferences with the rights protected by article 8 of the ECHR” (para. 78).“It is thus perfectly possible that information, including confidential information concerning a child or a young person’s state of health (for example, as to contraception, pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease), could be disclosed… to a wide range of public authorities without either the child or young person or her parents being aware of the interference with their article 8 rights” (para. 84).“We conclude therefore that the information-sharing provisions … as currently drafted do not meet the article 8 criterion of being ‘in accordance with the law’.” (para. 85).http://no2np.org/named-person-fact-check/