17 Jun 2013

Named Persons Provisions In The Draft Children & Young People Bill


Dear Sirs,

As Scotland’s leading children’s organisations, we wanted to highlight the importance of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill, and in particular the intention to put the principles of ‘Getting it right for every child’ (GIRFEC) into law. In our experience the application of GIRFEC is helping to deliver a culture shift for Scotland’s children, putting their wellbeing and their needs at the centre of how we deliver services to children.

The bill contains several interlinked elements to help deliver this culture shift, including the stronger and more integrated planning of delivery of services in local areas to children, a shared understanding of what wellbeing means for children, a co-ordinated planning process for children who require specific support and improved communication between children and their parents and public bodies through a single of point of contact.

However, we are aware that there is some degree of concern about this final point, described in the draft bill as a ‘named person’. The reality is however, that this ‘named person’ should serve to connect the family more effectively to a range of services and professionals when they are needed without excessive red tape or delay and will rightly be somebody that the family are likely to already know and be happy to approach, like a head teacher or a health visitor.

We have seen the wider roll out of the named person in operation in the Highlands, and can attest to the benefits that this pilot has delivered for children and families across that area. The proposals for a statutory named person role in the draft Bill, give us the opportunity to explore how we can ensure those benefits to all of Scotland’s children.

We therefore feel that the criticisms leveled by some lobby groups against the named person in the draft Bill are inaccurate and unjustified. We do not feel that these provisions represent some new intrusion into family life by the state. The statutory named person role reflects what we know to be good practice. It codifies the role of the health visitor, who knows the children and families on their caseload including who would benefit from a little extra support. It reflects good work of the Headteacher, who takes an interest in the overall wellbeing and development of the pupils in their school – not just their attainment levels in examinations.

Therefore, we see an effective named person role as an important part of making ‘Getting it right for every child’ a reality, and believe it is a crucial element of the forthcoming bill.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any of us should you require further clarification on any aspect of our position.

Kind regards

Ken Dunbar, Chief Executive, Aberlour

Carol Iddon, Director of Children’s Services (UK North) Action for Children

Martin Crewe, Director,  Barnardo's Scotland

Anne Houston, Chief Executive, Children 1st