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The Information Sharing Provisions of the Children and Young People Scotland Act (2014)

Background

The Named Person and information sharing statutory provisions of the Children and Young People Scotland Act (2014) were scrutinised by the Supreme Court in July 2016.  

The Supreme Court decided that:

  • The principle of providing a Named Person for every child and young person did not breach human rights and that the provision of the service was compatible with EU law.
  • The information-sharing provisions of the 2014 Act were incompatible with Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)  and that changes were needed to make those provisions compatible.

In consequence of the Court judgment, the Named Person statutory provisions (including the information-sharing provisions) did not come into force as anticipated in August 2016.

Announcement of 7th March 2017

The Deputy First Minister plans to bring forward a Bill that will include new provisions on when and how information can be shared by and with the Named Person Service. The intention is to introduce the Bill ahead of the summer recess.  

This approach will involve replacing some of the provisions in the 2014 Act to address the Supreme Court’s judgment.  The Named Person Service providers will have an explicit duty to consider whether sharing information would be compatible with data protection law, human rights and the law of confidentiality.   The approach will emphasise the importance of involving families in deciding if and when to share information and will confirm that information sharing without consent should only take place when there is a risk of harm.

The Scottish Government anticipate that the Bill and amended provisions will be supported by:

  • Draft guidance as early as possible during the Bill’s passage
  • A national training and capability building programme to ensure that proportionate information sharing that works for and with families is the norm.
  • Resources supporting robust self-evaluation for use by Practitioners.
  • A public information campaign to provide accessible information for children, young people and parents to help support the future success of the Named Person Service.

It is now anticipated that the Children and Young People Scotland Act (2014) will come fully into force in 2018.

Conclusion

The announcement is in keeping with the Information Sharing Briefing Note issued to colleagues in August 2016 and will not lead to significant changes in working practices.  Staff should continue to follow current guidance on effective information sharing.

Any questions should be directed to Eleanor Sheppard esheppard@aberdeencity.gov.uk

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