11 Q23: Named Person Service - Other Comments
11.1 Question 23 in the consultation document asked 'Please provide any other general comments about the draft guidance on the Named Person service, including the information sharing sections?'
11.2 A total of 181 respondents (84 organisations and 97 individuals) offered general comments, which represents almost two-thirds of respondents (64%). Almost three-quarters of individuals (73%) and over half of organisational respondents (56%) made comments.
Views of organisational respondents
11.3 In most cases, organisational responses to Question 23 recapped points that they had already made in response to earlier questions. A few respondents raised concerns about the practicalities of the guidance relating to cross-border arrangements and young people in the armed services (specific consultation questions were not included on these points).
11.4 Other general topics and issues commented on by organisational respondents included:
- Presentational issues: This included the need for clearer and simpler language; more examples; diagrams and flowcharts; operational guidance at local and national levels; more precise definition of key terms; a list of definitions; and the removal of detail from statutory guidance.
- Expectations and role of the Named Person including their relationship with the Lead Professional and with parents: This included accountability arrangements; their training and qualifications; their professional backgrounds; their relationship with child protection; whether and how an individual can 'opt out' of being a Named Person; and the extent to which a child / parent can influence the choice of Named Person.
- Information sharing: Reference was made to sharing of 'strengths' as well as concerns; how this operates beyond Scotland's boundaries; the importance of always getting consent; how information sharing works in criminal investigations; the safeguards in relation to sharing information on sensitive issues; sharing with GPs and adult services; and what happens when the individual is no longer within the Named Person service.
- Consistency with other legislation and conventions: Respondents referred to UNCRC, DPA, ECHR, etc., and ICO principles and practices.
- Working with specific subgroups: These included, for example, disabled children, those who are looked after, care leavers, those who need a Named Person service after their 18th birthday, and those who are moving on and off the child protection register.
11.5 Respondents also noted workload and resource issues including the concern about impact on teachers and health visitors; the burden and impact on existing services; and the need for new and improved IT systems.
11.6 A small number of organisational respondents commented that they were not in favour of this legislation, and made similar arguments to those of individual respondents, as set out below.
Views from individual respondents
11.7 For the most part, the comments from individuals focused on their reasons for opposing the legislation in relation to the Named Person service. The main arguments covered reasons of principle and reasons relating to implementation. These arguments have been set out in detail in paragraphs 3.29 - 3.31 above and are not repeated here.
11.8 A smaller number of comments were directed at specific aspects of the legislation.
Other issues raised
11.9 Other issues raised by individual respondents included that:
- The legislation itself does not rule out seeking parental consent; thus the guidance appears to be going beyond the legislation itself.
- The list of things that the Named Person is supposed to have 'a clear understanding of' seemed unrealistic for people who were already busy professionals with a wide range of existing responsibilities.
- The guidance required to address issues around the complaints / appeals process.
- The treatment of information 'not likely to be relevant' is problematic and needs further consideration in terms of how it is handled and how long it is retained for.
- There is a contradiction between the holistic nature of the (first part) of the guidance which considers wellbeing issues, and the information-sharing sections which carefully restrict the provision of information. These need to be brought into harmony.
Email: Richard Kaura