SCOTLAND’S leading child law charity has called for the Government to scrap a law intended to “fix” its controversial Named Person policy.

Clan Childlaw said the bill setting out how and when authorities can share confidential information about children was disproportionate and unnecessary. It also warned the legislation risked adding complexity to the system – when families and professionals instead need rules that can be easily understood.

In March last year, the charity, which provides legal advice and advocacy for children and young people, successfully intervened in the legal action brought by critics of the plan to give every child in Scotland a “Named Person”. Under the policy proposal, this person, usually a head teacher or health visitor, would act as a point of contact for support for parents and to ensure a child’s wellbeing.

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A coalition of Christian charities and opponents challenged the Named Person provisions of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, on the basis they infringed parental rights and would interfere with family life. While most of these arguments were rejected by successive courts, the concerns raised by Clan were key to the decision by Supreme Court judges the Scottish Government must amend the law to make it compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

In June, Deputy First Minister John Swinney published the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill, designed to fix the flaws in the previous law.

However, the charity said yesterday more legislation is not the answer.

In a response submitted last night to the Scottish Parliament’s education and skills committee, which is currently scrutinising the information sharing bill, it warns the legislation will only make the situation more complex. Clan says it agrees information must sometimes be shared to protect children.

But it warns: “This is a complex area of law that needs to be made easy to understand so it can be readily applied on a daily basis by professionals and easily understood by children and young people.

“Adding further legislation to the existing complex legal framework does not simplify it.”

The proposed law will not even change the situations in which information can be shared lawfully, the Clan submission says.

“It is unnecessary and disproportionate to legislate in order to ‘encourage’ the sharing of information.”

A new law would be costly, it adds, using up resources which could be better spent supporting the social workers, teachers and health visitors who need to implement the Named Person policy. “Against that background, the bill should be withdrawn,” the paper concludes.

Alison Reid, principal solicitor of Clan Childlaw, said: “We support the principles of the Girfec [getting it right for every child] approach, including the need to share information lawfully at an early stage to prevent bigger problems developing.

“However, legislation should be necessary, effective, clear and accessible. The bill meets none of those criteria and fails to overcome the difficulties identified by the Supreme Court, in relation to lack of precision and accessibility, and lack of safeguards and consent.”

The warning from Clan echoes concerns raised last week by the Faculty of Advocates in its submission to the committee consultation, which closes tomorrow.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are confident the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill fully addresses the issues raised by the UK Supreme Court.

“It will bring consistency, clarity and coherence to the sharing of information about children’s and young people’s wellbeing across Scotland.

“The bill will be subject to scrutiny and approval by the Scottish Parliament and we will continue to listen to views of stakeholders and the Parliament through this process.”