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Social workers fear named person plans are 'toxic'
Social workers will tell MSPs tomorrow that revised plans to introduce a named person for every child in Scotland are “toxic” and should be scrapped.

The proposals have left social workers – many of whom will be expected to act as named persons – “confused and even worried about the action they should take”, the education committee will hear.

And in its evidence, the Scottish Association of Social Workers will say its members fear being “regarded as agents of state surveillance or control, as opposed to a service to support and protect”.

Manager Trisha Hall will say: “Some of our members have strongly suggested this bill has become toxic and should simply be repealed.”

The evidence from the organisation is the latest hammer blow for the SNP over its controversial named person plans.

The Supreme Court last year ruled elements of the scheme unlawful, and new plans to address that are being consistently criticised by a range of experts.

Last week, the Law Society said practitioners of named person would need lawyers “on speed dial” in relation to confusion over information sharing.

Tomorrow, the SASW will add that, far from helping them, named person could make it more difficult to assist vulnerable young people.

The evidence will warn: “Our members are concerned that an increase in referrals may lead to a bottleneck in the system and subsequent overload, and this in-turn could result in child protection referrals not receiving the attention they should get.”

Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said:

“These are the very people who would be tasked with implementing the named person plans, and the SNP should listen.

“The concerns set out here show just what a mess these proposals are.

“The SNP thinks it is protecting young people by imposing a named person on every child, when in fact it risks making things worse.

“Social workers are understandably concerned about their workload, their reputation and above all their ability to protect those who need help the most.

“That’s why the nationalists should swallow their pride and scrap named person proposals altogether.”


Notes to editors:

To see the evidence from the Scottish Association of Social Workers, go to page 15 of the document here:

Last week at First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the SNP should scrap named person and think again:

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