Named persons number 3,000, prompting renewed calls to scrap ‘unworkable’ scheme

Around 3,000 state guardians are in place across Scotland, a newspaper has revealed.

A Scottish Daily Mail investigation found local authorities and NHS boards were highly inconsistent in how they implemented the Named Person policy.

Campaigners have now renewed calls for the scheme to be scrapped, saying thousands of families still risk being investigated and threatened by the state.


Under the Named Person scheme, state guardians, such as health visitors and teachers, were appointed to monitor the ‘wellbeing’ of every child in Scotland.

However, personal information about children and families could be routinely shared among state services without the knowledge of the people concerned.

In a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2016, judges concluded that the scheme’s “cavalier approach” to handling private information was “unlawful and must not happen”.


The successful case was spearheaded by The Christian Institute.

Deputy Director Ciarán Kelly said parents and professionals may still be unclear and, as a result of the court action, parents must not be given the impression that a named person’s advice is compulsory.

“There are thousands of named persons in place, and local authorities and NHS boards don’t understand how to operate the scheme legally.

“The professionals are clearly confused and that’s only going to confuse parents and families even more.”

‘Breath-taking arrogance’

Campaign group No to Named Person said: “When the Supreme Court rules the key part of your flagship scheme is illegal, you really need to take that on board.

“This policy should be dead in the water. Instead, it looks like state snoopers are on the rise. What breath-taking arrogance.”

The Scottish Daily Mail asked 32 Scottish local authorities and 14 NHS boards if they were operating the scheme.

Of those who responded, seven councils did not operate it, but Dumfries and Galloway Council claimed the scheme was mandatory, saying: “Every child must have a Named Person.”

Education Secretary John Swinney insists the Named Person scheme will not be scrapped.

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