One of the leading opponents of the Scottish Government’s ‘Named Persons’ scheme – which would appoint someone, usually a health visitor or a teacher, to ensure the wellbeing of every child in Scotland – hailed its dismissal by the UK’s highest court as “a victory for every family we represent”.
Jane Colby, executive director of The Young ME Sufferers Trust (Tymes Trust) which joined the legal action against the scheme led by The Christian Institute, was cock-a-hoop when the news came through this morning. The Supreme Court in London rejected the scheme – dubbed “a snooper’s charter” by its enemies – after a lengthy legal process.
Jane Colby said: “t is a great day for freedom. Tymes Trust is happy to have been a part of this historic fight. The law has been struck down and the scheme cannot go ahead as it stands.”
According the BBC News, the Supreme Court ruled that some proposals in the scheme breach rights to privacy and a family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The court said the aim of the Act, which is intended to promote and safeguard the rights and wellbeing of children and young people, was “unquestionably legitimate and benign”.
However, judges said specific proposals about information-sharing “are not within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament”.
And they said the legislation made it “perfectly possible” that confidential information about a young person could be disclosed to a “wide range of public authorities without either the child or young person or her parents being aware”.
The Scottish Government promised to fix the problems relating to information-sharing and come back with improved legislation. Scottish Education Secretary John Swinney said work would start immediately on the legislative amendments.
Opponents of the scheme appealed to the Supreme Court in London after their case was dismissed by the Court of Session in Edinburgh last year.