A leading children’s charity has called for the Scottish Government to drop its watered-down Named Person law, saying it fails to address criticisms from the UK Supreme Court.
Clan Childlaw, which intervened in the successful court case spearheaded by The Christian Institute, says the new proposal is unnecessary and costly.
Last week the Faculty of Advocates also expressed serious concerns, warning the updated plans lacked clarity and safeguards.
Under the original plans, every child in Scotland was set to have a state official tasked with looking after their ‘wellbeing’, defined as “happiness”.
But in July 2016, five UK Supreme Court judges unanimously struck down the central provisions of the scheme – forcing the Government to bring in watered-down new proposals.
Clan Childlaw’s Principal Solicitor Alison Reid said legislation on the issue “should be necessary, effective, clear and accessible”.
But: “The Bill meets none of those criteria and fails to overcome the difficulties identified by the Supreme Court, in relation to lack of precision and accessibility, and lack of safeguards and consent.
“Further, it adds nothing to the existing legal framework in which information can currently be lawfully shared. The Bill should be withdrawn.”
In its written submission to MSPs, the charity also warned that the new law would be expensive – using funds that would be better invested elsewhere.
The group also called for better guidance on the lawful sharing of information about young people.
The Scottish Government is standing by its legislation, stating that it “fully addresses the issues raised by the UK Supreme Court” and will bring “consistency, clarity and coherence” to the sharing of information about children.