Supreme Court judgement pending.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney has clarified to Parliament the implementation of the named person policy in light of uncertainty around the Supreme Court decision.
The named person and child’s plan provisions in parts four and five of the Children and Young People Act are currently scheduled to commence on 31 August.
The policy has been upheld twice in the Scottish Court of Session and a determination by the UK Supreme Court is currently pending.
In a letter to the education committee Mr Swinney said:
“There remain only two weeks prior to its summer recess in which the Supreme Court could hand down its judgment. While I still hope that this may still happen, we face the theoretical possibility that a judgement will not have been made prior to the commencement date of 31 August. It would not be prudent or responsible for government to commence legislation while a decision from the court is still pending as this would potentially create confusion on both practical and legal grounds.
“It is for this reason that I wish to advise Parliament that the Government will not move to implement Parts 4 and 5 of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 until there is a definitive judgement from the Supreme Court on this judicial review. This follows usual practice and provides clarity for all concerned.
“I would wish to make clear that this contingency planning in no way undermines this Government’s commitment to the named person policy. I still hope that a Supreme Court judgment might be forthcoming before the Court’s summer recess, and that a positive judgment for the Government, in line with the Court hearings in Scotland, will allow the Government and its partners to proceed with the implementation of this important policy.”
The Children and Young People Act, including the named person service, which sees family health visitors and senior teachers take on the ‘named person’ role to ensure children can get timely access to advice and services when they need it, was passed in the Scottish Parliament with cross-party support and not a single vote against, by 103 votes to zero.
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