WATCH JUDGEMENT SUMMARY Judgment summary
Supreme Court rules on ‘named person’ 28/07/2016 09:50
Swinney commits to roll-out service as legal bid to scrap NP scheme fails.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney today pledged to work with key public services and children’s charities to ensure the successful roll-out of the ‘Named Person’ service for every child.
Following a legal challenge to the policy , the UK Supreme Court’s judgment:
• Ruled that the principle of providing a named person for every child does not breach human rights and is compatible with EU law
• Rejected the petitioners’ argument that the legislation relates to reserved matters
• Ruled that changes are required to the information-sharing provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act to make those provisions compatible with Article 8 of the ECHR.
Mr Swinney said:
“I welcome the publication of today’s judgment and the fact that the attempt to scrap the named person service has failed. The Supreme Court has stated that the aim of the legislation, in promoting and safeguarding the wellbeing of children and young people, is ‘unquestionably legitimate and benign’. It makes clear that the principle of providing a named person to support children and families does not breach human rights. The court’s ruling requires us to provide greater clarity about the basis on which health visitors, teachers and other professionals supporting families will share and receive information in their named person role. We will start work on this immediately so we can make the necessary legislative amendments. The service will be implemented nationally at the earliest possible date. Ministers remain absolutely committed to the named person policy, developed over several years in consultation with a wide range of individuals and organisations working across Scotland to support children and families. We will work closely with local authorities, health boards and other key public service partners to ensure that those performing the role have the support and guidance they need ahead of implementation.”
The Children and Young People Act 2014 was passed with cross-party support and not a single vote against, by 103 votes to zero, in the Scottish Parliament. The policy was also supported by a majority of MSPs across parties during a parliamentary vote in June. SOURCE
Did he read a completely different report from me?? Because the bit that stands out to me & any other parent is this…
Sturgeon is just as bad… (check some o the comments!)
What planet do they live on? The pair o them are either so STUPID they cant understand plain English or they are delusional!!
The full Supreme Court judgment can be found here: https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2015-0216.html
Judges at the Supreme Court have today blocked the Scottish Government’s controversial ‘Named Person’ scheme, branding it “unlawful”.
Dubbed the “State Snooper” scheme, the Named Person law has endured many months of hostility from the public, and hard questions for the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her Deputy, John Swinney.
The scheme sought to appoint a state official for every child in Scotland to monitor their ‘wellbeing’ – defined as “happiness”. This included powers to access and share private data on children and parents, and to provide ‘advice’.
One government-funded leaflet said Named Persons would even check whether a child was given a say in what they watch on TV.
In today’s unanimous judgment, the Supreme Court said the Named Person’s wide discretionary powers to share confidential information on families were “incompatible with the rights of children, young persons and parents” under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
In one devastating line from the judgement, the Supreme Court justices observed: “The first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get at the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world.” [Paragraph 73]
The appeal was heard by Lady Hale, Lord Wilson, Lord Reed, Lord Hughes and Lord Hodge. Scottish judges Lord Reed and Lord Hodge co-wrote the judgment with the Deputy President of the Court, Lady Hale.
Key extracts from the judgement:
“The first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get at the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world. Within limits, families must be left to bring up their children in their own way.” [Paragraph 73]
“…there must be a risk that, in an individual case, parents will be given the impression that they must accept the advice or services which they are offered, especially in pursuance of a child’s plan for targeted intervention under Part 5; and further, that their failure to co-operate with such a plan will be taken to be evidence of a risk of harm. An assertion of such compulsion, whether express or implied, and an assessment of non-cooperation as evidence of such a risk could well amount to an interference with the right to respect for family life which would require justification under article 8(2). Given the very wide scope of the concept of ‘wellbeing’ and the SHANARRI factors, this might be difficult. Care should therefore be taken to emphasise the voluntary nature of the advice, information, support and help which are offered under section 19(5)(a)(i) and (ii) and the Guidance should make this clear.” [Paragraph 95]
“In summary, we conclude that the information-sharing provisions of Part 4 of the Act … (b) are incompatible with the rights of children, young persons and parents under article 8 of the ECHR because they are not ‘in accordance with the law’ as that article requires, (c) may in practice result in a disproportionate interference with the article 8 rights of many children, young persons and their parents, through the sharing of private information…” [Paragraph 106]
Judges at the UK’s highest court have ruled against the Scottish government’s Named Person scheme.
Opponents of the scheme appealed to the Supreme Court in London after their case was dismissed by the Court of Session in Edinburgh last year.
The system would appoint a named person – usually a teacher or health visitor – for every child in Scotland.
Judges say some proposals breach rights to privacy and a family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The court said the aim of the Act was “unquestionably legitimate and benign” but said specific proposals about information-sharing “are not within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament”.
The court has given the Scottish government 42 days to rectify the legislation, saying that in the meantime it “cannot be brought into force”.
Education Secretary John Swinney said the government would move to “provide greater clarity” about information-sharing.
He said the government would start work immediately on the necessary legislative amendments.
Mr Swinney said it would be implemented nationally at the earliest possible date.
Analysis by BBC Scotland home affairs correspondent Reevel Alderson
The ruling by Supreme Court judges – two of whom are Scottish – does not mean the controversial Named Person legislation can not ever be implemented.
It simply means the Scottish government must make some changes to the law to ensure it complies fully with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
The charities opposed to the scheme had already seen judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh rule on two occasions that it could go ahead.
The appeal to the UK Supreme Court was on a claim that it breached ECHR.
The judges said in general terms the law – part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 – did comply.
But they ruled some changes are required to the scheme, which is intended to promote and safeguard the rights and wellbeing of children and young people.
In particular the way in which information could be shared by named persons and others was ruled non-compliant.
The court has said the Scottish government must provide greater clarity about how health visitors, teachers and other professionals who will be Named Person will share and receive information in their role.
Ministers said they will start work on this immediately.
Although the provisions of the legislation were due to be implemented at the end of August 2016, it will now be delayed until changes can be made.
The Scottish government said it was working to achieve the changes, so the service could be implemented nationally as soon as possible.
Why was the legislation challenged?
The Scottish government contend that the system would help to protect young people and has accused opponents of misrepresenting the legislation, which was approved by 103 votes to nil by MSPs when it formed part of the Children and Young People Act in 2014.
The Supreme Court heard two days of evidence in March on the case.
The appeal was brought by the No to Named Persons (NO2NP) coalition, which includes the Christian Institute, Care (Christian Action Research and Education), Tyme Trust and the Family Education Trust.
They tried to convince the panel of five Supreme Court judges that the named person legislation authorised “unjustified and unjustifiable state interference with family rights”.
Their arguments had previously been dismissed as “hyperbole” by the Court of Session, which said named person did not diminish the role of parents and had “no effect whatsoever on the legal, moral or social relationships within the family”. READ IN FULL
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