THE Christian charity which took legal action against the Scottish Government over the Named Person policy has warned it will return to court unless a bill designed to 'fix' the scheme is delayed.

Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) is calling on MSPs to put off passing a bill clarifying when and how information about a child can be shared where there are concerns for their welfare.

The Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill was published in June in response to the Supreme Court ruling which blocked implementation of the controversial policy to provide every child in Scotland with a named person responsible for their wellbeing.

The Scottish Government was forced into the move last July after judges backed the principles of named persons, but found that elements of the law breached rights to privacy and family life under the European Convention of Human Rights.

However CARE says MSPs should not pass the bill until details of the guidance to be given to named persons – usually health visitors for pre-school children or the headteacher of a school age child – are also published.

In evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee the charity, which describes itself as lobbying for changes in legislation relating to human dignity, says the bill will not solve the problems with the scheme.

It says there are still serious concerns about how private data will be used and shared and claims the law could seriously undermine the role of parents in family life.

In its response to the committee, CARE says the bill contains no practical definition of wellbeing, and that the lack of clarity could make it unworkable and open to further possible legal action.

More detail is needed to help named persons know when they should share information, the charity says. It acknowledges ministers wanted to help protect children from abuse and neglect but argues that the scheme risks diverting resources away from children who are genuinely vulnerable.

CARE for Scotland Policy Officer Gordon Macdonald said: "There are still serious problems within this Bill that have not been addressed by Scottish Government.

“The Scottish parliament is being asked to legislate in a vacuum. The Bill should be delayed until guidance on the new General Data Protection Regulation has been published.”

“Named Persons are still being asked to share information without a clear legal threshold being identified on the face of the Bill.”

“The Government needs to place parents at the heart of the bill, as they are in the best place to take care of their children. Doing this would save the Government from having to make another embarrassing climbdown in the future.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said any information about children would normally not be shared without consent, except in situations where not sharing it would hinder the detection of a crime or put the health or safety of a child at risk.

She added: “We are confident that 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.”