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Swinney downgrades Named Person advice to ‘optional’

Colin Hart

Colin Hart

Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, has warned local authorities that state guardians can only offer optional advice, after last week’s Supreme Court judgment on the Named Person scheme.

A statement released at the weekend urges local authorities and health boards to “take care to reiterate the voluntary nature of any advice, information, support or help offered by the ‘named person’”.

The tone is in marked contrast to Swinney’s attempt to portray the ruling as a Government victory.

The Government suffered an embarrassing defeat last Thursday when the UK Supreme Court ruled the central provisions in the Named Person legislation to be unlawful.

There are concerns that councils may already have unlawfully shared sensitive information about children under pilot versions of the Named Person scheme.

(The scheme’s) criteria have been applied in several pilot schemes, and parents have already complained of intrusive data being gathered on themselves and their children.

Campaign group NO2NP has pointed out that in light of last week’s ruling, families will have the opportunity to go down the legal route and seek to secure financial compensation for “gross invasion of their human rights”.

‘Christian Institute Director Colin Hart said the successful legal action was a “vindication” of years of campaigning to protect families from state interference.

• Full story at the Christian Institute.

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