Families have secured a “huge victory” with the release of a watered down version of the Named Person legislation, campaigners have said.
Last year The Christian Institute won a victory in the UK Supreme Court when the Scottish Government’s plans were declared unlawful.
It also ruled that the new plans – released yesterday – had to make clear that any advice offered by a named person is entirely optional.
Simon Calvert of the No to Named Persons (NO2NP) campaign said: “The new proposals confirm one of the most remarkable, ignominious and expensive U-turns in the history of the Scottish Government and a huge victory for mums, dads and children across the country and those who were prepared to spend time and money fighting the scheme through the courts.
“The Scottish Government has now been forced to accept that its original draconian, Big Brother proposals were an utter shambles from the start, representing a fundamental breach of European human rights laws on privacy and information-sharing.
“Under yesterday’s changes, the duty of a Named Person will now be to consider if sharing information is likely to promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing of the child or young person.
….one of the most remarkable, ignominious and expensive U-turns in the history of the Scottish Government.
“The Named Person must then consider if sharing that information would be compatible with data protection law, human rights law and the law of confidentiality”, he also said.
He stated: “That’s a 100 per cent climbdown on the SNP’s original plan of a statutory duty to share information about people’s private lives almost without restriction.”
Under the original proposals, legislation required the named person to record and share confidential information concerning the wellbeing of children and their parents.
But the Supreme Court stated that these data-sharing provisions breach the right to a private and family life under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In a scathing ruling, the Court said: “The first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get at the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world.”
Mr Calvert said if ministers had “only listened at the start, they could have saved huge amounts of time and money”.
He said the financial costs of the “vanity project” have been “colossal”.
“Despite financial problems the Scottish Government has splashed out more than £60 million on its project dubbed GIRFEC (Getting It Right For Every Child).
“It is now quite clear they didn’t get it right – and actually got it completely wrong.”
He also drew attention to the planned money to be spent on re-training staff on the new plans – put at a further £1 million.
“Frankly, that seems optimistic given how much has already been spent”, Mr Calvert cautioned.
“The money thrown at the scheme so far could have paid for 450 front line social workers or 370 front line police officers.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the changes would bring “consistency, clarity and coherence”.
MSPs will debate the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill in the coming months.