Judicial review finds policy does not contravene ECHR rights or EU law
Commenting on the Court’s ruling of the Named Person Judicial review, which rejected the petition on all counts, Children’s Minister Fiona McLeod said:
“This decision is good news for families in Scotland. The ruling states that the policy does not contravene ECHR rights or EU law, was developed carefully over more than a decade with extensive input and wide support from experts and encourages professionals to work together. It also recognises that through prevention and early intervention the named person service seeks to put the best interests of every child at the heart of decision making.
“Named persons are being introduced because parents and children asked for them, as a single point of contact. They will build on the kind of supportive role that teachers, doctors, nurses and health visitors have long offered to children and parents. The service has been tested and is already working well in several areas of Scotland.
“We know that mothers and fathers are, with a very few exceptions, the best people to raise their children. This policy won’t change parental rights and responsibilities. The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, including the Named Person service, was supported by a large majority of those who responded to the public consultation, backed by a wide range of children’s charities and professionals working daily to support families across the country, and endorsed by the Parliament.”
Notes To Editors
The court decision on the Named Person Judicial Review found:
- Part 4 (Named Persons) of the Act does not contravene ECHR rights, EU law or fundamental common law rights. This applies also to the information sharing provisions of the legislation, which the Court found were not in breach of the Data Protection Act.
- The subject matter of the provisions is within the devolved competence of the Scottish Parliament.
- Several of the petitioners do not have standing to bring the petition
A Named Person is a single point of contact for help, support or advice that children, parents and those working with children can go to if they need help with a particular issue. This could be things like sleep difficulties, exam worries or bullying.
They are being introduced because parents and children asked for them. Named Persons will build on the kind of supportive role that teachers, doctors, nurses and health visitors have long offered to children and parents.
They will typically be a head teacher, guidance teacher or health visitor the family already knows and will speed things up and save families the time and trouble of having to re-tell their story to different services. The Named Person will not be a social worker.
In line with the current approach of a school head or guidance teacher, the Named Person only offers advice and assistance when it’s needed, there is no obligation on parents or children to approach the service.
The policy has been tested and is already working well in several areas of Scotland where it has been rolled out – such as Highland, Edinburgh, Fife, Angus and South Ayrshire – but all parts of Scotland have been taking it forward positively.
The legislation strengthens the role, allowing the Named Person to call on other services to give support if needed. It can prevent early concerns going unchecked and potentially becoming more serious welfare issues. The Highland experience has shown the system reduces the workload on hard-pressed staff and has been welcomed by families.
Nothing in the legislation changes parental rights and responsibilities. We know that mothers and fathers are, with a very few exceptions, the best people to raise their children.
The legislation, including the Named Person service, was supported by a large majority of those who responded to the public consultation, backed by a wide range of children’s charities and professionals working daily to support families across the country, and endorsed by the Parliament.
The new legal duty to share wellbeing concerns with the Named Person will not affect decisions to disclose information on underage sexual activity to parents. These are based on national guidance which has been in place for some time.
Among the non-government supporters of the Named Person are the signatories to the attached briefing: http://www.childreninscotland.org.uk/sites/default/files/NamedPersonUpdate.pdf
Case studies, and other information can be found here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/People/Young-People/gettingitright/about-named-person
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