STUART Waiton's essay claims his planned novel about a "futuristic dystopia" where all relationships are "mediated through a ­state-paid professional" is obsolete due to the named person provisions of the Children and Young People Bill, approved by MSPs last week (Guardian angels … or Big Brother?, Essay of the week, February 23).

The named person bears no relation to the fiction he describes, nor to his claims that the role is based on a suspicion that every parent is a potential abuser and that the state is taking on an increasing role as children's primary carer.

I've been consistently clear that parents and carers, with a very few exceptions, are the best people to raise their children. Nothing in the legislation changes parental rights and responsibilities.

The named person, usually a health visitor or a senior teacher, was first introduced in Highland after parents requested a single point of contact for advice or help when needed, rather than having to retell their story to different services.

Named persons will not, as has been claimed, be expected to ­instigate an investigation into a child or family based on "mere concerns" they may have. The initial response to concerns about wellbeing would be a discussion with the family.

Where Dr Waiton's essay does mention the Highlands, it conflates child protection cases - involving serious concerns about a child's safety and, inevitably, social ­workers (who will not be named persons under the new law) - with targeted interventions in terms of a Child's Plan.

These interventions are agreed for many reasons to improve a child's wellbeing, for example speech and language therapy, usually provided by health or education services.

The new named person duties do not change existing child protection laws.

Nor, as is suggested, has the approach to information-sharing been loosened.

The legislation makes it a duty to share concerns about a child's wellbeing with the named person. As with all data sharing it must be for a reason, proportionate to the need and relevant.

By responding to needs and risks more quickly, problems are less likely to escalate, meaning there are fewer vulnerable children.

This has been seen in the Highlands, where the numbers of looked-after children and those on the child protection register have fallen.

Aileen Campbell MSP

Minister for Children & Young People