On 19 February 2014, the Scottish Parliament decided that every child in Scotland should have a ‘named person’ – a state official tasked with looking after their ‘wellbeing’, defined as “happiness”.
More than five years later, after a campaign led by The Christian Institute, the Scottish Government announced it was bringing a formal end to the statutory scheme.
The Institute spearheaded a lengthy legal action against the introduction of the legislation, arguing that it contravened human rights.
The legislation required the named person to record and share confidential information concerning the wellbeing of children and their parents.
On 28 July 2016, in the case of The Christian Institute and others v The Lord Advocate (Scotland) five UK Supreme Court judges unanimously struck down the central provisions of the scheme.
The Court stated that the data sharing provisions in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act were in breach of the right to a private and family life under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
It also ruled that it had to be made clear that any advice offered by a named person is entirely optional.
In September 2019, Education Secretary John Swinney said the Government would repeal parts 4 and 5 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, bringing a formal end to the statutory scheme.
Director of The Christian Institute Colin Hart responded: “Parents will be delighted and relieved at this news. For years we have said this scheme is wrong in principle. It is parents, rather than the state, who have the ultimate responsibility for raising children. The threshold for state intervention in the family has always been set high and it should remain that way.”