Scottish Government pledges to support named person policy

John Swinney

John Swinney

The deputy First Minister has reaffirmed the Scottish Government’s commitment to the named person service to support children and families.

John Swinney, who is also Cabinet Secretary for Education, has pledged the government’s backing to the service, which sees family health visitors and senior teachers take on the ‘named person’ role to ensure children can get timely access to advice and services when they need it.

The policy will be introduced across the country following Parliament’s cross-party vote – by 103 votes to zero – for the Children and Young People Act in 2014.

Today (Wednesday), the Deputy First Minister also indicated that the government will refresh the guidance provided to professionals and the communication of the policy to the public.

Mr Swinney said: “We know most children and young people get all the help and support they need from their parents, wider family and community, but sometimes they may need extra support.

“It is impossible to predict who will need this support or when. That is why the named person service is for every child – so concerns are picked up early. This government is absolutely committed to the named person service to ensure no one is left without support when they need it.

“The policy is widely supported by leading child welfare organisations, including Children 1st, Barnardo’s, Aberlour, Save the Children, Children in Scotland and the NSPCC, and by Police Scotland and the Scottish Police Federation.

“The named person will be someone already known to a family – usually a health visitor or teacher – and will be a central point of contact if children, young people or their parents want information or advice.

“I recognise there are concerns and misunderstandings about the policy. We need to get the guidance for professionals and information for the public right and that is why we will refresh these materials. We will continue to work with and consult stakeholders and parent groups through this process.”