Confusion from Named Person scheme undermines child protection, says watchdog

Ambiguity over the role of the named person has created “uncertainty within the system”, Scotland’s care watchdog has said.

The Care Inspectorate report found that in 25 significant case reviews where young people were harmed, ten made reference to professional confusion over the controversial role of the named person.

Eight of these cases were before the July 2016 Supreme Court ruling that the information sharing provisions of the scheme were unlawful.


The divisive scheme has been dogged with controversy and officials have admitted there are serious issues with its implementation.

The Inspectorate report suggested that these problems have not been resolved, indicating there is “ongoing ambiguity” about the circumstances in which it may be appropriate to share information.

The Scottish Government said that planning is already underway to address the findings.

A spokesman said: “We have set up an independent panel to develop a code of practice on information sharing for people working with children and families”.


However, the development panel set up by John Swinney to create this code previously admitted it wouldn’t be able to meet its September 2018 deadline, and asked for the date to be pushed back.

In January, the group said it was finding it “challenging” to make the guidance “simple, concise and accessible”.

Spokesman for the No to Named Persons campaign Simon Calvert said: “It would be better if the Government dropped their attempts to roll out the unpopular and ineffective Named Person scheme.

“This will allow agencies to focus more energy and resources on working together to protect the vulnerable.”


The Christian Institute spearheaded a lengthy legal action against the introduction of the Named Person scheme, arguing that it contravened human rights.

In 2016, five UK Supreme Court judges unanimously struck down the central provisions of the scheme.

In June 2017, the Scottish Government released a greatly watered-down version of the original plan, which made clear that any advice offered by a named person is entirely optional.

However MSPs demanded a “workable” code of practice before they would agree to progress the Bill.

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