Most children and young people get all the help and support they need from their parent(s), wider family and community, but sometimes, perhaps unexpectedly, they may need a bit of extra help.
Many parents say that when they need help it's not available and they don't know who to go to. The Named Person ensures that there is someone who is responsible for helping them get the support they need if and when they need it.
Children and young people from birth to 18, or beyond if still in school, and their parents will have access to a Named Person to help them get the support they need.
A Named Person will be a clear point of contact if a child, young person or their parents want information or advice, or if they want to talk about any worries and seek support.
Who will be a Named Person?
A Named Person will normally be the health visitor for a pre-school child and a promoted teacher - such as a headteacher, or guidance teacher or other promoted member of staff - for a school age child.
The Named Person duties are integrated into their current role and strengthen the support they currently provide, formalising their role as a clear contact for children, parents and other people working with them.
What will a Named Person do?
A Named Person will be available to listen, advise and help a child or young person and their parent(s), provide direct support or help them access other services. For example, a health visitor might ask for help from a speech and language therapist, or a guidance teacher may put parents in touch with a local bereavement counselling service.
They will also be a point of contact for other services if they have any concerns about a child’s or young person's wellbeing.
What happens when help is asked for or a concern is raised?
When the child or young person, their parent(s), or someone who works with them asks for help or raises a concern, a Named Person will carefully consider the situation by asking five questions:
What is getting in the way of this child’s or young person’s wellbeing?
Do I have all the information I need to help this child or young person?
What can I do now to help this child or young person?
What can my agency do to help this child or young person?
What additional help, if any, may be needed from others?
The Named Person will discuss this with the child or young person and their parents, and where appropriate, with other professionals, to get the help the child, young person or parents need.
They will then support the child, young person and their parents to access appropriate help. Each situation will be unique to the child or young person, and the way they are supported will be tailored to their individual needs.
A Named Person will only offer advice or support in response to a request from a child or parent, or when a wellbeing need is identified. They can help a child, young person or their parent(s) address their concerns early and in some cases avoid bigger concerns or problems developing.
There is no obligation to accept the offer of advice or support from a Named Person.
Who will provide and support Named Persons?
Local authorities and health boards are the main organisations that have a duty to make sure a Named Person is available to children and young people wherever they live or learn. They will make sure children, young people and parents know about their local Named Person service and what it means for them.
Other organisations, like independent or grant-aided schools, secure accommodation services and the Scottish Prison Service (for the small number of young people held in custody), have a duty to make sure a Named Person is available to the children and young people in their care.
Information about a child’s needs, specific circumstances and the help they have already received may be shared with a Named Person and other services if asked to provide additional support.
The child or young person and parent(s) will know what information is being shared, with whom and for what purpose, and their views will be taken into account. This may not happen in exceptional cases, such as where there is a concern for the safety of a child or someone else.
The Act and supporting guidance sets out a clear set of steps for practitioners to follow to make sure the right information is shared at the right time, so that the right help is offered to support the wellbeing of the child or young person.