THE Scottish Government is to set up a panel to help persuade the public its named person policy is "workable".

Deputy First Minister John Swinney will name Ian Welsh as the chair of the new panel which will provide expert advice to clarify the data protection issues which saw the original policy rejected by the Supreme Court.

Mr Welsh, chief executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, and fellow panel members who have yet to be announced, will be expected to develop new guidance for named persons and other practitioners and report back by the end of 2018.

The panel is expected to come up with a "workable, comprehensive and user friendly code of practice, statutory guidance and other support materials that take account of new data protection laws", a Government spokeswoman said.

The move comes as Holyrood's education and skills committee wrote to Mr Swinney saying they could not support the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill which was designed to address the Supreme Court's reservations about Named Persons.

Committee Convener James Dornan MSP said members were not willing to recommend the general principles of the bill at its stage 1 without seeing the binding code of practise ministers have promised will govern information-handling. This will tell practitioners, such as health visitors and teachers, how to manage confidential information about young people deemed to be at risk.

Even though this code of practise will now not be ready until the new panel concludes its deliberations towards the end of next year, the Herald understands the Scottish Government intends to press ahead with the bill.

The deputy first minister said the Getting it Right for Every Child (Girfec) Practice Development Panel would also develop other support materials for people working with children and families.

Mr Swinney added: “The named person service will provide a clear point of contact for a child and their family if and when they need it, and having the right information is vital to ensure the right help is offered at the right time from the right people.

“I know that families and those working with them have raised questions and concerns about how to share information lawfully. “This independent panel, led by Ian Welsh, will draw on the experience and expertise of people working with children and families to develop a workable, comprehensive and user friendly code of practice, statutory guidance and other support materials that take account of new data protection laws – bringing clarity and certainty on this important issue.”

Mr Welsh said he supported the named person service in principle and the panel would help it come to fruition.

“I passionately believe children and young people should be entitled to the same high standard of support no matter where they live, and know many parents of children living with disability or long term conditions say they benefit from having a central point of contact who can help them navigate the complex system of care," he said.

“That is why I fully support the creation of the named person service, with proportionate sharing of relevant information, within the law relating to data sharing and upholding children’s and human rights, to help children and young people achieve their potential and to support their wellbeing.

“I look forward to working with other stakeholders to develop a code of practice and supporting guidance to make this a reality.”

Mr Welsh, a qualified teacher who is also a non executive director for NHS Ayshire and Arran, will not receive a fee.

Simon Calvert, spokesman for the group No to Named Persons said Mr Swinney should take heed of the education committee's concerns.

"Expert witnesses from the legal world and practitioners who will have to work with this scheme have all warned about the dangers and shortcomings of this bill," he said. “The committee has taken heed of that evidence - unlike the Government, which has ploughed on regardless.

“John Swinney cannot ignore this and must act on the committee’s letter. He’s kept MSPs, parents and practitioners in the dark."