Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman Tavish Scott MSP today said he will hold Deputy First Minister John Swinney to assurances that the government will work to increase resources and improve implementation of their named persons plan, after a vote on the policy in the Scottish Parliament.
During the debate, Mr Scott challenged Mr Swinney on the confusion surrounding the ability of parents to change their named person if their relationship breaks down. The government confirmed that this would be made explicit in guidance. A Liberal Democrat amendment calling for additional resources to improve implementation and help train health visitors, social workers and school staff was also accepted.
The named person plan has the backing of a range of children’s charities, local authorities and the police.
Commenting, Mr Scott said:
“Parents and carers clearly have real concerns over this scheme and we will hold John Swinney to the assurances that the government offered during the debate this afternoon. They must have an explicit right to change their named persons if the relationship breaks down and the clear commitment we secured from the government on this point is nothing less than was required.
“This policy is about child protection. Not only did the SNP fail to communicate this to families, they failed to listen to the concerns of professionals and charities over the need for extra money to implement the reforms properly. My amendment means that they must now return to address both these points.
“We ask a great deal of teachers, health visitors and social workers these days. If this policy is to work then the Scottish Government must ensure named persons receive the professional development they need and are properly supported.
“Parents and carers need reassurance about the checks and balances of this policy and the vote today means that the government must now provide it.
“These are the building blocks by which Mr Swinney needs to reset this important policy.”