Campaigners who fought against the controversial Named Person scheme in Scotland have raised the alarm over documents showing the Scottish government has a ‘plan B’ if legislators block the proposals for the state guardian programme.
According to The Christian Institute, which together with other groups brought a successful court case against the Scottish government, forcing it to present a new, watered-down version of the bill, the Named Person scheme could still be brought in via the back door.
Ministers had been forced to rewrite their plans after the UK Supreme Court ruled that key parts of the proposal were illegal. Under the original plans, every child in Scotland was to be given a ‘named person’ — a state official tasked with looking after the child’s welfare and ‘happiness’.
However, although the government was forced to back down, new documents reveal the government has a contingency plan to implement the scheme if its new legislation is rejected by MSPs. This would allow elements of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act to be brought into force without information sharing.
Campaigner Lesley Scott used a Freedom of Information request to obtain the documents. She said, ‘These worrying documents show the focus is clearly on implementing Named Person by the back door, regardless of whether the new Bill gets through Parliament.
‘Clearly, we are now dealing with a Government which is ignoring the UK Supreme Court, has no regard for the elected representatives of the Scottish people and is determined to shun public opinion.
‘They are riding roughshod over the democratic system in pursuit of a flawed, failed and discredited project’.
Simon Calvert, speaking for campaign group No To Named Persons (NO2NP), said: ‘This proposed scheme was intrusive, incomprehensible and illegal. It still is, and continued implementation of it must cease, as must plans to continue its implementation in the future’.