In a major victory for family campaigners the Scottish Government has been forced to admit that its controversial Named Person legislation requires significant changes.

The scheme would have appointed a “named person” to monitor the welfare of every child in Scotland from 31 August.

But after the Christian Institute and other campaigners mounted a legal challenge, the Supreme Court decided in July that the plans to share families’ personal information breached the right to privacy and a family life under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Scotland’s Deputy  First Minister John Swinney has announced a  watering down of the Named Person scheme
Scotland’s Deputy
First Minister John Swinney has announced a
watering down of the Named Person scheme

Opponents had argued that the legislation would undermine parents, invade privacy and waste resources on children not at risk. In addition, a newspaper survey showed that 70 per cent of Scots opposed the plans.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced to MSPs (Scottish MPs) on 8 September that the legislation would not now be introduced for at least a year, due to the number of revisions needed to comply with the Supreme Court’s judgement. He also called for a 12-week consultation period with parents and professionals including, for the first time, opponents of the scheme.

Yet Swinney added that the Scottish Government remained “absolutely committed” to the project, accused campaigners against it of misinformation and even said that the Supreme Court ruling had “vindicated” the proposals.

The Christian Institute’s Ciarán Kelly commented: “Whatever sort of Named Person scheme reappears a year or more from now, it will be a shadow of the intrusive, Big Brother scheme the Court struck down. In the end, the only thing that might be left is the name itself.”

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