First Minister stands by named-person policy despite Tory criticisms

Transport minister Humza Yousaf

Transport minister Humza Yousaf

The First Minister has vowed to stand by her government's named person scheme despite calls for it to be scrapped by Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson.

In an unprecedented move, a majority of MSPs on the education committee voted not to produce a report on the Named Persons legislation until the Deputy First Minister has produced a new code of conduct for those expected to fill the role. Although Mr Swinney produced a draft code, he later had to withdraw it after it was savaged as confusing and legalistic.

Pressing Ms Sturgeon on the issue at First Minister's Questions, she demanded: " We should focus resources on those who actually need it rather than having blanket interference for every family in Scotland.

She added: "It is about the protection of children, this bill is not about the principle of named person, it's about the information sharing that is necessary to ensure vulnerable children don't fall through the gaps in services".

The committee said this meant they could not scrutinise the Named Person's powers to share sensitive information about children, or whether they were now lawful.

Legislation to bring in the named-person scheme - which will see a single point of contact, such as a teacher or health visitor, appointed to look out for the welfare of every child - was originally passed by Holyrood in 2014.

The Supreme Court ruled past year the information-sharing provisions included in the original legislation was unlawful as it did not comply the European Convention on Human Rights.

"That's what those working on the frontline with children want us to do and I think as a Parliament we should listen to them and respond", she said.

"It's usually organisations that lobby governments, not governments that lobby organisations", she said.

The move not to prepare a first stage report by the committee means that the bill can not go the Scottish Parliament for approval, resulting in yet another lengthy delay for the legislation.

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