Families in Scotland whose private lives have been intruded upon by officials could bring legal actions in the wake of key guidance on Named Person data sharing being changed.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) produced advice in 2013 – which featured on the Scottish Government website – stating that the Data Protection Act “should not be viewed as a barrier to proportionate sharing”.
But in the wake of campaigners’ victory against the Named Person scheme, the ICO “took the unusual step” of asking that it be removed from the Government website.
The ICO has now issued new guidance that reflects the Supreme Court ruling and makes clear that children’s sensitive personal data should only be shared without consent in exceptional circumstances.
The No to Named Persons campaign (NO2NP) noted the stark change in content and tone and said officials could expect legal action to follow from families.
“Who knows how many mums and dads and children have already been subject to the implementation of the inaccurate advice previously given out?”, a spokesman asked.
“We ourselves have been contacted by numerous families who have uncovered intimate personal information about them being passed between agencies through making subject access requests for information which is held on them by public bodies. They are rightly furious and some are considering their legal remedies.”
The previous guidance had also appeared on numerous local authority websites, including Dundee, East Renfrewshire and Perth and Kinross.
Ken Macdonald, who leads the Scottish Information Commissioner’s Office, confirmed that the guidance had been removed from the Scottish Government’s website.
He also said: “In the light of the judgment, the Commissioner published new guidance”.
“Copies of the guidance were sent to the Scottish Government, the Chief Executives of all local authorities and area health boards and to the Chief Constable of Police Scotland”, he added.
In July, the UK Supreme Court unanimously struck down the central provisions of the Named Person scheme.
The Court stated that 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.
The case was brought by The Christian Institute and other concerned groups and individuals.