Swinney admits that Named person policy has significant problems

8 Nov 2017

Liz Smith (2)

Education secretary John Swinney appeared before MSPs today, admitting the Scottish Government’s keynote Named Person policy is facing major problems.

He stated that difficulties remain both in terms of parliamentary scrutiny and public trust in the policy.

His admission highlighted that independent legal experts continue to disagree with the Scottish Government’s legal team.

He also stated that it was a mistake to publish the illustrative code of practice which was declared “not fit for purpose” by the Information Commissioner. This has created grave concerns for practitioners on the front line.

Concerns were also raised at today’s Education Committee about the potential costs of the overall scheme.

Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said

“Mr Swinney was in front of the committee to pick up the poisoned chalice that has been left to him by his predecessors.

“He was extremely honest in his recognition of the problems now facing the information sharing part of the Named Person policy and the dilemmas facing the committee as its members struggle to scrutinise the bill effectively.

“It is very clear that even the supporters of the Named Person policy are in doubt about what is expected of them.

“It is also very clear that committee members continue to have reservations about whether or not the new bill and the code of practice – as yet unseen – can actually deliver effective policy when it comes to looking after our most vulnerable young people.

“That is a major concern and it is exactly the reason why the Named Person policy has lost public support and why it has run into parliamentary difficulties.

“Like so many other SNP schemes, the costs of this also risk spiralling out of control.

“Taxpayers are sick and tired of clearing up the mess left by botched and misguided SNP ideas.”