Sturgeon sending mixed messages on Named Person

Nicola Sturgeon has come under fire for claiming that the Named Person scheme is ‘not compulsory’, despite her Government saying exactly the opposite.

Speaking in Holyrood today, the First Minister said the Named Person scheme – which will assign a state guardian to every child – is “not an obligation”.

The No to Named Persons (NO2NP) campaign, has said she has been “very badly misled”.

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During First Minister’s Questions the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson, argued the scheme is being ‘imposed’ against the wishes of parents, the majority of Scots and the “concerns of many including the police”.

She challenged Mrs Sturgeon on why earlier amendments to the legislation to allow an opt-out had been voted down by the SNP.

Mrs Sturgeon responded by saying that “children and parents are not legally obliged to use the Named Person service or take up any of the advice or help that is offered to them”.

She added: “Let me repeat again today, parents are not legally obliged to use it because it is an entitlement not an obligation”.


However, last year the Scottish Government’s QC told judges in the Court of Session that allowing parents to opt out would “defeat the purpose of the scheme”.

During the second round of a legal challenge spearheaded by The Christian Institute, Alistair Clark QC said the scheme is “universal” because every child is “potentially vulnerable”.

On Monday, the First Minister’s defence was further undermined when a written response to a UN committee from the Scottish Government stated that “every child in Scotland will have a named person who will receive training in identifying, assessing and responding to their needs”.

An official statement released subsequently claimed that parents will have the legal right “not to accept advice, support or help from the named person”, but did not say that parents could opt out of the scheme altogether.


The First Minister also claimed the scheme is not compulsory during an interview with BBC Scotland’s political editor Brian Taylor earlier this month.

Taylor said the BBC has recieved “dozens if not hundreds” of questions about named persons. Mrs Sturgeon responded: “It’s an entitlement, not an obligation. If a parent doesn’t want to have anything to do with the Named Person scheme they don’t have to.”

Simon Calvert, spokesman for NO2NP, said that she has been seriously “misled”.


He said: “When she realises how inaccurate the advice from officials has been, I imagine heads will roll.

“They’ve made her look very silly because she may be the only person in Scotland who doesn’t know that the Named Person scheme contains no opt-outs and no provision for parental consent.

“It is, on any ordinary understanding of the word, mandatory.”

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