Campaigners today vowed to fight on after Scotland’s highest court rejected their concerns over the Scottish Government’s controversial Named Person scheme.
In a written judgment, the Inner House of the Court of Session ruled that the legislation does not conflict with human rights or data protection laws.
Responding to the judgment, spokesman for the campaign group No to Named Persons (NO2NP), Simon Calvert, said that they will be appealing against the decision.
Mr Calvert said: “We do not believe that the judges engaged properly with the arguments we put forward so we will take them to the Supreme Court. Ultimately we may even have to go to Europe.
“If the nature of the Named Person scheme was as the court described then we would not have brought this action in the first place.
“But the legislation gives a Named Person broad powers to interfere without parental consent.”
Mr Calvert pointed out that the judges presiding over the case failed to see the distinction between how the court describes the scheme’s aims – “the promotion of child welfare” – and the term ‘wellbeing’, used in language surrounding the scheme.
“Welfare approaches use ‘significant harm’ as the threshold for emergency state intervention in family life, whereas Government-funded guidance on the Named Person scheme says wellbeing is just another word for ‘happiness’.”
He also reiterated the argument that named persons will overburden an already struggling network of social workers and health professionals, leading to vulnerable children being missed.
Vulnerable children missed
“Tragic cases in recent years have proven that the system cannot cope and has let down the neglected and cruelly treated children it was supposed to defend.
“The safety net will be stretched more thinly than it already is and more at risk children will inevitably fall through it as Named Persons swamp the caseload of social workers with tittle-tattle about perfectly normal families.”
Mr Calvert went on to draw attention to the “staggering £61 million of public money” allocated for the Named Person scheme and highlighted that, for that amount of money, the Scottish Government could fund 450 front line social workers or 370 front line police officers for four years.
He concluded: “They should consign this project to the legislative dustbin before any more public money is wasted.”
Responding to the judgment, Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute said he was disappointed but not surprised by the ruling because cases concerning fundamental rights usually end up in the Supreme Court.
“We are in a better position as a result of parts of this ruling. Those implementing the scheme will have to tread more carefully in the light of today’s judgment. But this is not enough. That’s why our Trustees will be actively considering an appeal to the Supreme Court.”
The Christian Institute, CARE, Tymes (The Young ME Sufferers) Trust, the Family Education Trust and concerned parents launched legal action against the Named Person scheme in July last year.