Named person faces further 12 month delay

The Holyrood education committee said it would not allow John Swinney’s “named person” legislation to progress until it had seen a vital code of practice which does not yet exist

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In an unprecedented move, a majority of MSPs on the education committee voted not to produce a report on the Named Persons legislation until the Deputy First Minister has produced a new code of conduct for those expected to fill the role.

That draft code will not be available until September 2018 at the earliest, Education Secretary John Swinney has said.

The Scottish Conservative leader branded the policy a "mess" at First Minister's Questions on Thursday.

The Conservative added that while "e verybody wants protection for vulnerable children", it was "now clear that Parliament has joined the public in no longer having confidence in these plans".

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"We are willing to get round the table to find a fresh solution to this but first the First Minister needs to ditch this broken plan, because her named person policy in tatters".

Sturgeon replied: "The Scottish Government will proceed with its named person plans for the simple reason that they are in the best interests of children, particularly vulnerable children, across the country".

They delivered a damning indictment of his handling of the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) Bill, saying they said they could not proceed because he had failed to provide the "critical guidance".

It is the latest setback for the scheme, in which every child would be assigned given a named person, usually a teacher or health visitor, for their protection.

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The proposals have drawn opposition due to concerns about information sharing and have been beset by a flurry of delays in their implementation - including a Supreme Court ruling against the scheme last summer.

"That's what those working on the frontline with children want us to do and I think as a Parliament we should listen to them and respond", she said.

The move not to prepare a first stage report by the committee means that the bill can not go the Scottish Parliament for approval, resulting in yet another lengthy delay for the legislation.

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