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Published, 19 September 2019

Information sharing proposals dropped and named person provisions repealed

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament today (19 September 2019), Scottish Government Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced that the new proposed law on information sharing will not proceed and the mandatory named person scheme for every child will be repealed.

The report of the expert panel established to explore the development of a legally-binding Code of Practice to support the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) Bill has been published. Having reviewed the report, the Scottish Government will now work with stakeholders to develop practical guidance for professionals to support and promote good, proportionate and appropriate, information sharing practice under existing law.

Mr Swinney said:

"I believe that we have taken an important step forward in providing families and practitioners with certainty about how information sharing can support wellbeing in a transparent way which respects the rights of everyone.

"The mandatory named person scheme for every child – underpinned by law – will now not happen. We will withdraw our Bill and repeal the relevant legislation.

"Instead, existing voluntary services that provide a point of contact for support will continue under current legal powers, where councils and health boards wish to provide them and parents want to use them.

"In this way, we will support our children and young people so that they can thrive and rise to the challenges and opportunities that life brings.

"Only through continued investment in our children's wellbeing will we achieve our vision of a prosperous country where everyone gets the chance to fulfil their potential, and no-one is left behind."

Noting the announcement, Jennifer Davidson, Executive Director of CELCIS, the Centre for Excellence for Children's Care and Protection, said:

"We understand the decision that has been announced and the consideration given to the issues by the Expert Panel.

"Paying attention to what each child and young person needs, and offering families information and support - whatever that role might be called - is one of a number of important ways in which we can create a Scotland where we all work in the best interests of the child. The local authority areas that we work with are keen to improve the co-ordination of their services to ensure they can do this well.

"The Supreme Court judgement was important to ensure children's rights are realised in relation to how professions share information about them. There needs to be a focus on how to support practitioners to feel confident about when and how they can share information about a child, so that there is a common understanding in order to help every child and family who may need support. The practical guidance and support to be developed to give professionals confidence to share information, with families understanding their rights under existing law, will be imperative here."

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