Analysis Of Responses To The Consultation On Draft Statutory Guidance For Parts 4, 5 & 18 (Section 96) Of The Children And Young People (Scotland) Act 2014

This is a report on Analysis of Responses to the Consultation on Draft Statutory Guidance for Parts 4, 5 & 18 (Section 96) of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014.

6 The Named Person Service: Provision of the service

6.1 Section 4 of the guidance covered the duties of organisations in providing the Named Person service. It covered organisational arrangements for delivering the service; qualifications, training, and experience for those acting as Named Persons; the functions of the Named Person; and requirements relating to continuity of service. The guidance related to Section 19 of the Act.

6.2 Each of these different elements of the guidance was addressed in the consultation questions, and will be discussed below.

Q6: Named Person service: Organisational arrangements

6.3 Question 6 related to paragraphs 4.1.3 - 4.1.4 of the guidance and asked: 'Is the draft guidance clear on the organisational arrangements which are to be put in place by the service provider to support the functions of the Named Person?' Table 6.1 shows that 76% of organisations and 6% of individuals said 'yes', while 24% of organisations and 94% of individuals said 'no'.

Table 6.1: Question 6

Yes No Total
Respondent type n % n % n %
Local authorities 12 (75%) 4 (25%) 16 (100%)
Health organisations 12 (80%) 3 (20%) 15 (100%)
Partnership bodies and joint responses 12 (80%) 3 (20%) 15 (100%)
Other national public sector bodies 4 (100%) 0 (0%) 4 (100%)
Third sector organisations 19 (76%) 6 (24%) 25 (100%)
Professional groups 5 (56%) 4 (44%) 9 (100%)
Other organisational respondents 4 (67%) 2 (33%) 6 (100%)
Total organisations* 68 (76%) 22 (24%) 90 (100%)
Individual respondents 2 (6%) 32 (94%) 34 (100%)

* One respondent ticked both 'yes' and 'no'. This response is not included in the table.

Percentages do not all total 100% due to rounding.

6.4 In general, respondents across all sectors thought that the guidance was clear in relation to organisational arrangements which should be put in place. However, professional groups were more divided in their views.

6.5 Altogether 110 respondents (91 organisations and 19 individuals) provided comments. This section of the guidance presented a summary of duties placed on Named Person service providers. Many of the comments made, however, were relevant to the detailed guidance presented in later sections of the document and are covered in subsequent chapters of this report.

Aspects of the guidance respondents found helpful

6.6 Those respondents commenting positively on this part of the guidance thought it provided a useful overview of the duties on service providers. Third sector respondents particularly welcomed the reference to partnership working in this section.

Comments and concerns about the guidance

Service provider organisations for different groups (4.1.2)

6.7 Comments on this aspect of the guidance requested for more detail on: (i) where the duty was expected to lie within local authorities and health boards; and (ii) arrangements for specific groups such as pregnant women and those who had left school.

Named Person duties (4.1.3) and good practice (4.1.4)

6.8 Different respondents requested clarity about the duties and good practice summarised in this section of the guidance. In general, these were wide ranging and detailed. However, most were addressed by subsequent sections of the guidance, and so they are not discussed here.

6.9 Respondents suggested that the service provider duties at 4.1.3 might include reference to: (i) providing training; (ii) ensuring other authority staff support the work of the Named Person; (iii) ensuring an adequate Named Person : children / young person ratio; and (iv) providing adequate administrative support for Named Persons.

6.10 Some respondents queried the distinction between the points listed as 'duties' and those listed as 'good practice'. Others wished to see greater emphasis given to specific points including child protection arrangements (there were calls for this to be covered as a 'duty' at 4.1.3), partnership working, the role of the third sector and the importance of culture change within services.

Gaps in the guidance

6.11 Respondents also identified a number of wider issues which they thought it would be useful to highlight in this section of the guidance:

  • Service provider as opposed to individual Named Person responsibility and accountability
  • The contribution that Named Persons could make to service development at a strategic level
  • Monitoring arrangements and sanctions for failure to carry out the duties.

Views of individual respondents

6.12 Individual respondents mostly stated concerns about the principle of the Named Person or noted a general view that the guidance lacked clarity. More specific comments focused on concerns about, or the need for clarity on, the following issues (most of which were covered in more depth elsewhere in the guidance):

  • The role of the Named Person, generally and in relation to specific groups
  • Knowledge, skills and training requirements for Named Persons
  • Resourcing of the service and anticipated caseloads
  • Information sharing
  • Arrangements for dealing with potential conflicts of interest and disputes.

Q7: Named Person: Qualifications, training, experience and position[6]

6.13 Question 7 in the consultation document stated 'The Named Person Order and the draft guidance in support of this relate to training, qualifications, experience and position of those who can be a Named Person', and asked, 'Are they sufficient to promote reliability in the quality of the Named Person service while supporting the flexibility to ensure that organisations can provide the service universally and consistently? Do they provide clarity?'

6.14 Table 6.2 shows that 54% of organisations and 9% of individuals agreed that the Order and guidance were sufficient, while 46% of organisations and 91% of individuals disagreed. Table 6.3 relates to perceived clarity of the Order and guidance and shows very similar levels of agreement (58% and 6% for organisations and individuals respectively). Most respondents answered both parts of the question in the same way.

Table 6.2: Question 7 (Sufficiency)

Yes No Total
Respondent type n % n % n %
Local authorities 12 (75%) 4 (25%) 16 (100%)
Health organisations 8 (53%) 7 (47%) 15 (100%)
Partnership bodies and joint responses 8 (53%) 7 (47%) 15 (100%)
Other national public sector bodies 4 (80%) 1 (20%) 5 (100%)
Third sector organisations 11 (42%) 15 (58%) 26 (100%)
Professional groups 5 (45%) 6 (55%) 11 (100%)
Other organisational respondents 4 (50%) 4 (50%) 8 (100%)
Total organisations 52 (54%) 44 (46%) 96 (100%)
Individual respondents 3 (9%) 32 (91%) 35 (100%)

Percentages do not all total 100% due to rounding.

Table 6.3: Question 7 (Clarity)

Yes No Total
Respondent type n % n % n %
Local authorities 11 (69%) 5 (32%) 16 (100%)
Health organisations 8 (57%) 6 (43%) 14 (100%)
Partnership bodies and joint responses 7 (47%) 8 (53%) 15 (100%)
Other national public sector bodies 5 (100%) 0 (0%) 5 (100%)
Third sector organisations 13 (54%) 11 (46%) 24 (100%)
Professional groups 7 (64%) 4 (36%) 11 (100%)
Other organisational respondents 3 (38%) 5 (63%) 8 (100%)
Total organisations 54 (58%) 39 (42%) 93 (100%)
Individual respondents 2 (6%) 32 (94%) 34 (100%)

Percentages do not all total 100% due to rounding.

6.15 Local authorities and other national public sector bodies were most likely to regard the Order and guidance as sufficient and clear. Health organisations, partnership bodies and third sector organisations were more divided in their views.

6.16 Altogether 141 respondents (113 organisations and 28 individuals) made comments at Question 7.

Aspects of the guidance which respondents found helpful

6.17 Those commenting positively on the guidance particularly appreciated the clarity on legal responsibility (i.e. that it lay with the service provider rather than the individual Named Person); references to the 'Common Core' skills; the coverage of potential conflicts of interest; and the detail provided (at 4.1.16) on the matters of which the Named Person should have a clear understanding.

Requirements for those acting as Named Persons

6.18 Respondents offered a range of comments on the detailed requirements for those acting as Named Person as laid out in the Named Person Order and related guidance. These often related to perceived inconsistencies between the Order and guidance; between the requirements for health and teaching staff; and between the requirements relating to different groups of children and young people. Specific points included calls for:

  • Further information on midwives acting as Named Persons (listed in the Order, but only covered in an annex to the guidance)
  • Clarification on whether a staff nurse with child development training at undergraduate level could be a Named Person.

6.19 It was also suggested that the speech and language and child development training requirements should apply to teaching staff as well as health staff, and that the guidance should be reviewed to enable greater input from specialist speech and language therapists.

6.20 Respondents also thought there was insufficient guidance on Named Persons for particular groups such as those who had left school, those disengaged from education, gypsies / travellers, home-schooled children and those with complex needs. A small number of respondents raised concerns about the arrangements for those in custody, querying the definition of 'senior custody officer' and the experience they would bring to the role.

6.21 Other specific issues on which respondents sought clarity included:

  • The statutory functions referred to at 4.1.5
  • How the legal position regarding service provider accountability related to professional codes
  • The reference to 'outsourcing' at 4.1.6
  • Whether the Named Person criteria were 'requirements' (as described in the Order) or 'expectations' as suggested in the guidance
  • Whether a Named Person service provider / individual establishment could have multiple Named Persons
  • Whether those who leave school before 18 were included within the group of 'children not on the school roll' (4.1.9).

6.22 Respondents called for flexibility for staff who did not necessarily meet the stated criteria (e.g. social workers, youth workers) to be Named Persons for young people not in school. Respondents noted a range of other staff who may not meet the criteria including unpromoted pupil support staff; pupil support staff with a social work background; nurses (i.e. not health visitors) with relevant training and experience. Further, it was noted that some current promoted teachers / health visitors may not meet all the necessary criteria.

6.23 Respondents also highlighted a range of circumstances - e.g. relating to staff movement, rural areas, small schools and different models for senior management and pupil support - in which it would be difficult to meet the criteria, and thought the guidance needed to reflect this. They also queried whether staff needed to have met all the criteria prior to taking on Named Person duties, or when providing temporary cover.

Skills, knowledge and understanding

6.24 The guidance set out details of the skills, knowledge and understanding expected of the Named Person. The list of matters that Named Persons should have a clear understanding of (4.1.16) attracted a range of comments. While most respondents found it helpful, others thought it was unnecessary and / or would be daunting for staff taking on the role. A further view was that the list was incomplete. Specific suggestions for additions included child protection policies and procedures, and children's rights.

6.25 Respondents also suggested the following:

  • The list should take account of the role of the Lead Professional and make it clear that the Named Person could also be the Lead Professional.
  • It should be clear that it was the responsibility of service providers to ensure the Named Persons had the required understanding.
  • It should be made clear that the list was not exhaustive.


6.26 The Named Person Order set out required academic and professional training and qualifications, while the guidance noted (4.1.17) that service providers are responsible for the provision of training in relation to the specified skills, knowledge and understanding. Respondents frequently expressed concern with this arrangement and called instead for a more prescriptive or standardised approach in order to achieve consistency.

6.27 Respondents wished to see national training - or, at least, nationally developed resources and materials - and cross-profession and cross-sector training, including training for Lead Professionals, and those in statutory and non-statutory organisations who would potentially interact with the Named Person service. They also wished to see: greater emphasis on the 'Common Core'; more emphasis on academic training; recognition of the Named Person role in undergraduate and professional training; requirements covering continuing professional development, self-evaluation and mentoring; and clarity on the level of training required.

6.28 Respondents also offered a wide range of comments on what should be covered in the training. Suggestions included training on the needs and rights of specific groups (e.g. those with disabilities, looked-after children, those who had experienced domestic abuse, etc.); skill-based training covering leadership, dealing with conflicts, etc., and knowledge-based training on issues such as the availability of local resources.

Other workforce issues

6.29 Respondents expressed a range of wider concerns about workforce issues. In particular, there were concerns about:

  • The capacity of the current workforce to act as Named Persons, given health visitor vacancies, reductions in promoted posts, recruitment difficulties and existing demands on senior teachers
  • The extent to which current staff would meet the criteria for acting as a Named Person and the need for flexibility while staff were trained up
  • The implications for job evaluations, workloads and terms and conditions.

Gaps in the guidance

6.30 The guidance on conflicts of interest was welcomed by third sector respondents in particular. However, respondents called for inclusion of clear grounds and process for parents and children and young people to raise concerns, and queried whether alternative Named Persons would always be available, e.g. in rural areas.

6.31 The following were noted as other issues not covered in the guidance: the appropriate caseload for each Named Person; quality assurance and monitoring arrangements; and support and assistance that will be available to Named Persons.

Views from individual respondents

6.32 Most of the comments from individuals reflected wider concerns about the Named Person service. Specific points included that:

  • Parents were best placed to look after the welfare of their children.
  • School nurses not teachers should be Named Persons.
  • There needed to be (stronger) procedures for addressing conflicts of interest and allowing parents a role in choosing a Named Person.
  • The list of things that Named Persons were expected to have 'a clear understanding of' was 'a lot to add to the job description of professionals'.
  • Carrying out Named Person duties for all children would adversely affect the other duties of the staff involved and the level of service available for children with more significant needs.
  • Training and qualifications were not sufficient preparation for the Named Person role and the quality of service would vary depending on the experience and competence of individual staff.
  • The criteria in the Order did not take account of home-schooling.

Q8: Named Person service: Delivery of Named Person functions

6.33 Question 8 focused on paragraphs 4.1.19 - 4.1.27 of the guidance and asked: 'Is the level of detail provided on the delivery of the Named Person functions within the draft guidance appropriate to guide service providers in the provision of the service?' Table 6.4 shows that 67% of organisations and 12% of individuals agreed, while 33% of organisations and 88% of individuals disagreed.

Table 6.4: Question 8

Yes No Total
Respondent type n % n % n %
Local authorities 13 (87%) 2 (13%) 15 (100%)
Health organisations 14 (93%) 1 (7%) 15 (100%)
Partnership bodies and joint responses 9 (60%) 6 (40%) 15 (100%)
Other national public sector bodies 3 (60%) 2 (40%) 5 (100%)
Third sector organisations 11 (50%) 11 (50%) 22 (100%)
Professional groups 5 (56%) 4 (44%) 9 (100%)
Other organisational respondents 4 (57%) 3 (43%) 7 (100%)
Total organisations* 59 (67%) 29 (33%) 88 (100%)
Individual respondents 4 (12%) 29 (88%) 33 (100%)

* Two respondents ticked both 'yes' and 'no'. These responses are not included in the table.

Percentages do not all total 100% due to rounding.

6.34 Local authorities and health organisations (who would be Named Person service providers) were most likely to agree. However, there were mixed views among third sector organisations.

6.35 Altogether, 110 respondents (87 organisations and 23 individuals) made comments at Question 8.

Aspects of the guidance respondents found helpful

6.36 Those commenting positively on this section of the guidance welcomed the level of detail and the examples included, and thought the guidance was helpful in clarifying the knowledge and skills needed by Named Persons. The references to taking account of the views of children, young people and parents also received positive comment.

Clarifying the guidance

6.37 Respondents offered a range of comments on how the guidance might be improved and clarified. At a general level, respondents were keen that the detailed functions were appropriately 'framed' with clarity provided on the role of the Named Person and the relationship with the Lead Professional and with other professionals. Respondents were concerned that the Named Person role did not negate the role of other professionals, and that Named Persons were not perceived as 'gatekeepers' to other services. Allied Health Profession and third sector respondents pointed out that many services were available through self-referral.

6.38 Respondents also thought the guidance could emphasise the importance of following the principles of GIRFEC (and prioritising early intervention and prevention) in carrying out Named Person duties.

6.39 Respondents sought clarity on specific aspects of the guidance as follows.

Seeking input from other services / professionals

6.40 Respondents highlighted that Named Persons would need information and access to relevant local resources to be equipped for this role. They specifically sought clarity on:

  • Involving professionals in other agencies in assessing wellbeing, and the implications for information sharing
  • The obligation on other services to respond to Named Person referrals
  • Arrangements for other services to make referrals to the Named Person
  • The circumstances in which parents might be referred to services.

Using the GIRFEC Practice Model and practitioner questions

6.41 Respondents felt that the reference to the GIRFEC Practice Model needed more detail.

6.42 Respondents sought clarity on when the practitioner questions should be used and whether they were meant to address wellbeing concerns or needs. Respondents also suggested a range of supplementary questions aimed at considering the views and needs of children, young people and parents, gathering full information, safeguarding the child and finalising a referral.

Responding to wellbeing concerns

6.43 In relation to the response to a wellbeing concern, respondents focused on the creation of the Child's Plan and sought clarity about:

  • The circumstances in which a Child's Plan was / was not required
  • The respective roles and responsibilities of the Named Person and Lead Professional in initiating and ensuring adherence to the Child's Plan.

6.44 Respondents welcomed the reference to the use of a Child's Plan in 'at risk' situations; they also sought clarity on procedures in situations where compulsory care was required. It was suggested that this section should give greater prominence to high-risk situations, e.g. by reversing the order of the bullet points at 4.1.24 of the guidance.

Involving / seeking the view of children, young people and parents

6.45 Respondents generally welcomed the guidance on this issue, but thought that the message and language could be clearer and more consistent, here and elsewhere in document. More particularly, they thought the guidance could:

  • Provide more detail on exceptions to seeking views or sharing information
  • Clarify the need to obtain child / young person consent prior to sharing information with parents
  • Be strengthened regarding the need to support those with learning or communication difficulties. Respondents highlighted the need for reference to the Education (Scotland) Act; training and access to resources; and seeking input from specialist services.

General points

6.46 Across this section respondents wished to see more guidance on recording and retaining information, and timescales for taking action.

Gaps in the guidance

6.47 Respondents identified the following as specific gaps in the current guidance:

  • Working with specific groups such as looked-after children, those not in education, those with disabilities, and carers rather than parents
  • Named Person functions in relation to transition points, particularly for children and young people with disabilities
  • The interface with other systems and other agencies
  • Dealing with disputes and breakdowns in relationships between Name Persons and parents / children
  • Delivery of Named Person duties as part of a 'shared caseload' team.

Views from individual respondents

6.48 Comments from individuals focused on concerns about the 'power' of the Named Person and the need to balance that against the rights and responsibilities of parents. Respondents called for clarity on: the Named Person role in relation to families with no identified concerns; and the grounds for excluding parents from discussions. Respondents also commented on the relative weight given to the views of children: some thought that too much weight was given to the views of children, while a less common view that they should be given greater priority.

6.49 Respondents were also concerned that various aspects of the guidance were too subjective and drew attention to the threshold for intervention and the phrase 'proportionate' response (4.1.19).

6.50 Individuals wished to see adequate processes for dealing with disputes and complaints.

Q9: Named Person service: Continuity of the Named Person service

6.51 Question 9 focused on paragraphs 4.1.30 - 4.1.32 of the guidance and asked: 'The draft guidance outlines how arrangements for making the Named Person service available during school holiday periods and other absences should be put in place. Do you agree that this provides sufficient clarity while allowing local flexibility?' Table 6.5 shows that 60% of organisations and 18% of individuals agreed, while 40% of organisations and 82% of individuals disagreed.

Table 6.5: Question 9

Yes No Total
Respondent type n % n % n %
Local authorities 10 (67%) 5 (33%) 15 (100%)
Health organisations 14 (88%) 2 (13%) 16 (100%)
Partnership bodies and joint responses 9 (64%) 5 (36%) 14 (100%)
Other national public sector bodies 3 (60%) 2 (40%) 5 (100%)
Third sector organisations 9 (39%) 14 (61%) 23 (100%)
Professional groups 5 (45%) 6 (55%) 11 (100%)
Other organisational respondents 4 (67%) 2 (33%) 6 (100%)
Total organisations* 54 (60%) 36 (40%) 90 (100%)
Individual respondents 5 (18%) 23 (82%) 28 (100%)

* One respondent ticked both 'yes' and 'no'. This response is not included in the table.

Percentages do not all total 100% due to rounding.

6.52 Health organisations were most likely to agree that the guidance provided clarity on holiday cover arrangements while also allowing local flexibility. However, less than half of third sector organisations and professional groups agreed.

6.53 Altogether 101 respondents (91 organisations and 10 individuals) made comments. Most respondents focused on school holiday arrangements, and this is reflected in the analysis below.

Aspects of the guidance respondents found helpful

6.54 Respondents commenting positively on the guidance tended to do so at a general level. They noted, for example, that the need for planning and continuity was clear, or that flexibility was helpful in taking account of local service arrangements. Other respondents thought the guidance was helpful in clarifying how school holidays would impact on the handling of urgent and non-urgent matters. Most of those who offered positive comments also noted specific concerns or highlighted issues on which further clarity was sought.

Concerns about the guidance

National approach vs local flexibility

6.55 Although some welcomed the flexibility that the guidance offered, respondents more commonly called for a national approach to holiday cover and absence cover more generally, and called for clearer more detailed guidance to ensure this. Respondents noted that the guidance needed to recognise arrangements for those who had left school, for those with ongoing needs (e.g. related to disabilities) and the different holiday schedules in independent schools.

The required level of service

6.56 Respondents sought clarity about the level of service to be provided over holiday periods. Some accepted that a different level of service would operate at such times, but wanted clear parameters set. Others, however, noted the importance of providing a full service on a year-round basis, and expressed concerns about how this could be achieved in school holidays in particular, given that staff providing cover would, inevitably, not have the same level of knowledge of cases as the regular Named Person. Some noted that holiday and out-of-hours periods could be high-risk times for vulnerable children. Respondents wanted a clear definition of 'out of hours'. On-call arrangements and helplines were suggested for covering such periods.

6.57 Respondents also commented on the implications of distinguishing between 'urgent' and 'non-urgent' matters. Some called for the guidance to emphasise the need to deal with child protection concerns without delay. Others suggested that delays in dealing with non-urgent matters could lead to pressure points, backlogs of work and, potentially, leave children vulnerable given that non-urgent matters could nevertheless add to overall case information which could highlight a need to take action.

Access to information

6.58 This was a key issue for respondents with some stressing the importance of those providing cover having full access to information, and others concerned about data protection implications and the practicalities of providing short-term access to information. The need for improved information recording and IT systems that are compatible between organisations were both noted.

Informing people of arrangements

6.59 Respondents - particularly those from third sector and other (non-service provider) organisations - stressed the importance of communicating school holiday and other temporary arrangements to families and relevant agencies. Some queried the need for including a 'named' substitute.

Workforce arrangements and capacity

6.60 Respondents sought clarity on who would provide cover during holidays or other periods of absence and whether those providing cover would need to meet the standard criteria for Named Persons as set out in the guidance and Order. Respondents queried whether this would be possible or practical.

6.61 Respondents highlighted a number of other issues including: the need to take account of part-time staff, term-time staff (in health as well as education) and the capacity of other staff to provide absence cover (holiday or sickness) for a Named Person. Respondents were concerned about the potential cost implications of providing holiday and absence cover, and the impact on delivery of other work. They also pointed out that staff turnover would raise many of the same issues discussed above.

Business continuity planning

6.62 Clarity was sought on the requirements for reviewing and testing business continuity arrangements.

Views of individual respondents

6.63 Comments from individuals focused on practicalities and the impact on service continuity. Those concerned about practicalities thought that teachers' holidays meant that providing a year-round Named Person service was not feasible, or could only be done at significant cost. Respondents further suggested that not providing a year-round service, in effect, defeated the objectives of the scheme. Those concerned about continuity thought that cases would be 'shunted around' and that individual staff would interpret wellbeing concerns differently; they were also concerned about ensuring clarity as to who was acting as a Named Person at any given time.


Email: Richard Kaura

Back to top