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”.
The Christian Institute spearheaded a lengthy legal action against the introduction of the legislation, arguing that it contravened human rights.
More than two years later 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 legislation required the named person to record and share confidential information concerning the wellbeing of children and their parents.
The Court stated that these data sharing provisions in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act breach 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 June 2017, the Scottish Government released its new proposal. It is a greatly watered-down version of the original plan, and makes clear that any advice offered by a named person is entirely optional.