“Warning bells” should be ringing for the Scottish Government over its plans for every child to have a named person, according to a Party leader who supported its passage through Holyrood.
Willie Rennie, who leads the Scottish Liberal Democrats, made the comments as an SNP candidate acknowledged that there are questions to be asked about the legislation.
The Christian Institute and other concerned groups are challenging the Government at the Supreme Court over the Named Person proposals. A decision is expected in the coming months.
All five Scottish Lib Dem MSPs voted for the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act, which contains the Named Person plans. But Willie Rennie has now expressed reservations.
The Scottish Mail on Sunday reported that the Lib Dem leader said his “main problem” was the implementation of the scheme: “I am hearing more and more concerns about the ability of the public sector to implement it effectively”.
Rennie added that he thought “there should be warning bells ringing” in the headquarters of the Scottish Government because there are “serious concerns among professionals” about the implementation of the Act.
Earlier this year a report by public service union UNISON Scotland revealed that more than half the health visitors it represents believe the scheme is not a “good thing”.
SNP candidate Jim Eadie, who is standing for re-election as an MSP, said he was “proud to vote for the legislation” but “it is legitimate for people to ask questions”.
He added that it was also acceptable for people to “seek reassurance that the implementation of this will be adequately resourced”.
“It should be kept under review as with all legislation and if it has to be modified and changed, that is appropriate”, he added.
Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said last month that while her party supported the principle behind the scheme, a Labour Government would pause the process.
The Scottish Conservative’s manifesto says one of its “first priorities” would be to seek the repeal of the Named Person proposals.
The scheme is due to come into force in August this year.
Under the plans, named persons – usually health visitors and teachers – will be tasked with looking after children’s ‘wellbeing’. State-funded guidance has defined wellbeing as ‘happiness’.
In March The Christian Institute, CARE, TYMES Trust and the Family Education Trust had their case against the Named Person scheme heard at the UK Supreme Court.