The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 enshrines the concept of ‘Named Person’ in Statute. However the ‘Named Person’ is familiar to us all from any work we do that relates to the Scottish Government’s key child protection policy GIRFEC – or Getting It Right for Every Child.
Why is the Scottish Government insisting that Local Authorities have a Named Person for every child or young person from birth to 18 years or longer dependent on needs?
Firstly the SSTA fully supports the principles of GIRFEC and the role of the Named Person. Secondly we endorse the statement from Fiona McLeod (Acting Minister for Children) stating that “We know that mothers, fathers and carers are with a few exceptions the best people to raise their children. These new provisions support families, providing improved access to services while maintaining parental rights and responsibilities.”
What is the function of the Named Person?
The Named Person will carry out statutory functions on behalf of the service provider with respect to individual children or young people for whom they have a professional responsibility, as part of their contractual functions. The Named Person is the individual point of contact within a service, acting on behalf of that service, with responsibility for supporting the wellbeing of the individual child or young person within the context of their professional expertise and contracted role. (4.1.5) Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014)
Who should be a Named Person?
In the vast majority of circumstances the Named Person will be a health visitor or a promoted teacher with the skills, knowledge and understanding required to fulfil the Named Person functions that will be part of their daily functions. (4.1.15 Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014)
What is the role of a Named Person?
The role of the Named Person is to promote, support and safeguard the wellbeing of the child or young person
- Promote:-advising, informing or supporting the child or young person, or a parent of the child or young person. This may involve the Named Person providing direct help to the child, young person or parent in the form of information, advice, or support from their own service, in response to a request for assistance, an identified wellbeing need or base assessment, in response to an opportunity to further promote the child or young person’s wellbeing.
- Support:-helping the child or young person, or parent of the child or young person, to access a service or support. In considering the child’s or young person’s wellbeing, the Named Person may identify a service or particular support which would benefit the child, young person or parent and seek assistance from within their own service or from another service provider
- Safeguard:-discussing or raising a matter about a child or young person with a service provider or relevant authority. The Named Person may identify a wellbeing need, or have a concern brought to their attention by a parent, or another professional, which in their professional judgement requires advice and support from another agency.
Will I be given training for the role of the Named Person?
Yes! It will be for the service provider (Local Authority) to provide support for the Named Person including clear guidance on policy, procedures and training. (4.1.17) Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014)
What are the duties and responsibilities of the Named Person?
The Named person should have a clear understanding of and be able to implement: -
- The principles and values underpinning the GIRFEC approach
- National Practice Model of assessments and analysis
- Be able to recognise and respond appropriately to wellbeing concerns
- To work in partnership with parents and other agencies
- To seek assistance from within and outwith their service
- To share information appropriately
- Recording and processing of wellbeing concerns and other sensitive information
- Development and use of chronology
- Initiating reviews and managing the Child’s Plan
- Be knowledgeable and supportive of targeted interventions
- Be aware and supportive of wellbeing and child protection concerns
Who is ultimately responsible for the support, work and decisions made by the Named Person?
The statutory guidance clearly states in 1.6.10 “When guidance refers to the Named Person service provider, this means that the organisation providing the Named Person, not the identified individual carrying out the Named Person role. This is an important distinction, as the legal duties fall on the organisation providing the Named Person service, not on the individual practitioner taking on the role of Named Person.” Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014)
Who will look after my Named Person pupil caseload during school closure days and periods of absence?
This will be the duty of the Local Authority as they are regarded as the Named Person service provider.
Will I be given additional payment for this taking on this responsibility?
This will be something that will have to be negotiated at LNCT. However the SNCT agreement section 2. 1.26 states that “A council may increase the salary of a teacher if, in the particular circumstances of the post, it considers the salary to be inadequate. Such placement will not necessarily be accepted as applicable in respect of future employment with another council. This provision shall not be applied to effect a general increase in the salaries of a particular category of post.”