In a statement to the Scottish Parliament on 19th September, Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced that the mandatory named person scheme for every child – enshrined in the Children and Young People Act 2014 – will be repealed.
The proposed Information Sharing Bill will not proceed as the report of an expert panel said that guidance on the General Data Protection Regulations and the Data Protection Act 2018 can provide the legal framework and safeguards needed to support proportionate information sharing within a GIRFEC approach.
However, Ministers have reaffirmed their commitment to the GIRFEC approach. The named person scheme was designed to support that aim by providing a single point of contact to provide help and support to children and families.
Existing voluntary schemes that provide a point of contact for support will continue under current legal powers, where councils and health boards wish to provide them. Families have no obligation to accept help or support offered.
- Information should not routinely be shared without the families’ knowledge and engagement.
- All information sharing must be in line with existing laws and guidance on data protection, confidentiality and human rights.
- However, if a child is at significant risk of harm, then information may be shared immediately and without consent.
The Government has also repeated its commitment to support practitioners from a wide range of services, to work together to support children in all aspects of their well-being.
The Scottish Government will now develop practical guidance and support to give professionals confidence to share wellbeing concerns in a compliant way, and to help families understand their rights under existing law.