MSPs to get vote on contentious Named Person rules in Govt U-turn

Scottish politicians will be given the opportunity to vote on controversial Named Person data-sharing rules, following a Government concession.

Last month MSPs on a Holyrood committee called for a vote on a draft code of conduct. Previously, Deputy First Minister John Swinney had said that he would have the final say.

However, he has now written to the committee to say Parliament will get “final approval of the code of practice”.


Today, he appeared in front of MSPs to defend the scheme, adding that if the current legislation was not passed “then the concept of the Named Person goes into a hiatus”.

The news came as professionals, including teachers and social workers, revealed they have received barely any training on implementing the scheme.

In October, the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee said the controversial code of practice should be included in subordinate legislation and put to a vote.

Final approval

Writing to the Committee, John Swinney said: “The procedure outlined in the Bill affords Parliament a high level of scrutiny on the draft code of practice and my intention has always been to ensure meaningful dialogue with both practitioners and Parliament in relation to its contents.”

But he added that officials would “prepare an amendment at Stage 2 that would give Parliament final approval of the code of practice”.

Swinney has also said the Government will plough more money into a public relations campaign on the issue.

The No to Named Persons (NO2NP) campaign group welcomed his letter, but said it was the least the Government could do.

It said, “changing tack and now granting MSPs a vote on the code of practice is the absolute bare minimum that Mr Swinney can do given the hammering the policy has had in Parliament during the recent evidence sessions”.

“Of course the best thing he could do is scrap it altogether”, NO2NP added.


In 2014, Holyrood backed the Named Person scheme, which covers the state monitoring of children, but The Christian Institute and others challenged it in court.

In 2016 the Supreme Court ruled against the Government saying its scheme breached human rights law.

Earlier this year ministers released their greatly watered-down version of the original plan.

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