A new Bill will be introduced to the Scottish Government before summer recess 2017 to introduce a named person for every child within information-sharing laws.
The new Bill is in response to the concerns raised by the Supreme Court to the Children’s and Young People Act (2014), replacing some of the provisions of this Act.
The new provisions will require Named Person service providers and others involved with children and young people to consider whether sharing information would promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing of the child or young person. They also require them to then consider whether sharing that information would be compatible with data protection law, human rights and the law of confidentiality.
The proposed changes make clear that information sharing will be compatible with data protection law, human rights and the law of confidentiality and will respect the rights of families fully. Only in exceptional circumstances (such as where the risk of harm is present) should there be consideration of departing from the core principles of consent, engagement and empowerment of families as the best way forward when considering sharing information.
For practitioners, it will mean that there will be no absolute requirement to share information under the Act, and that there will be scope for professional judgement and discretion, with information being shared without consent only in exceptional circumstances.
The requirement to share information by or with a Named Person service will be replaced with a duty on Named Person service providers and relevant authorities to consider if they have information that would promote, support or safeguard a child’s wellbeing if shared, and if they hold such information, a further duty to consider if they have the legal power to share this information compatibly with data protection law, human rights and the law of confidentiality.
To view the full statement and associated news release, or for further information, please visit the GIRFEC page on the Scottish Government website.