Nicola Sturgeon vows to press ahead with 'broken' Named Person scheme

The Holyrood education committee said it would not allow John Swinney’s “named person” legislation to progress until it had seen a vital code of practice which does not yet exist

A bill aimed at fixing these specific issues with the policy has been tabled at Holyrood, but is unable to progress to its first chamber vote until the education committee publishes a report either backing or opposing its general principles.

Parliamentary rules mean the legislation can not proceed until a committee report has been completed.

The scheme would appoint a named person, usually a teacher or health visitor, to be responsible for ensuring the welfare of every child. Beset by criticism from those who saw it is an unnecessary state intrusion into family life, it ran into objections a year ago from the Supreme Court, which found that information-sharing provisions in the original legislation were incompatible with the right to privacy and family life, as set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.

The proposals have drawn opposition due to concerns about information sharing and have been beset by a flurry of delays in their implementation - including a Supreme Court ruling against the scheme last summer.

She said: "The SNP's named person plans are in tatters".

The bill being considered by MSPs was a bid to correct these information sharing rules in order to let the system be implemented.

The First Minister said she was "disappointed" with the committee's decision, but robustly defended the Government against any claims of lobbying.

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But John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister, has said he can not produce new guidelines until September, making it highly unlikely the scheme will be introduced before 2019.

According to parliamentary rules, a law can not proceed at Holyrood until the "lead committee" reports that it agrees the general principles.

SNP members on the committee wanted to produce a stage one report, but they were voted down by other MSPs, who agreed that the committee should instead extend the period of scrutiny.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said notes and "attendee lists" from Government meetings with witnesses appearing at Holyrood's education committee should be made public.

A majority of committee members, including members of all opposition parties, voted that consideration should be postponed until a draft code of practice was available for proper scrutiny.

Lib Dem Tavish Scott, meanwhile, hinted that Mr Swinney's approach to the matter had played a part, saying that "no committee will be told what to do by a government minister who throws his weight around".

The education secretary said he would "reflect" on the move, but said it was "really important that we press ahead with the legislation". The Tories oppose named person in principle.

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