Call for Evidence

The Scottish Parliament's Education and Skills Committee is seeking views on the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill.

The Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 19th June 2017.

Read the Bill and its accompanying documents.

Context

The Bill makes provision for information sharing in respect of two aspects of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014; Part 4 of that Act which relates to the named person service and Part 5, which relates to child’s plans. The Bill has been introduced in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Christian Institute and others v. the Lord Advocate.

A SPICe briefing providing background on the Children and Young People Act 2014 and on the Supreme Court decision is available here.

The Bill amends both Parts 4 and 5 of the 2014 Act by, in particular, replacing various duties to share information with duties:

(a)  to consider sharing information where the information would promote, support or safeguard the wellbeing of the child or young person;

(b)  to consider whether the information could be shared in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, any directly applicable EU law, any other act and with common law; and

(c)  a power to share that information where it could promote the wellbeing of the child.

For ease of reference, the Government has published a document which shows how the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act would look with the provisions in the Bill incorporated.

The Bill also places a duty on Ministers to issue a Code of Practice to those exercising functions under Parts 4 and 5 on how they are to go about considering whether information can be shared and how it can be shared.

The Committee is considering, at Stage 1, whether or not the Parliament should agree to the general principles of this Bill and, if so, what improvements could be made to its provisions. Written submissions are invited on these issues.

It is important to note that the Bill does not include provisions that enable Stage 1 scrutiny to revisit the overarching policies established in the Children and Young People Act 2014. Scrutiny is specifically focused on the proposed revised approach to information sharing in relation to the named person service and in relation to child’s plans.

Code of Practice

The Government intends to consult on a draft the Code of Practice. The Government has published an illustrative draft of the Code, available here.

How to submit written views

The Committee welcomes evidence on any aspect of this Bill, and this can include comment on the approach being taken by the Scottish Government to address the Supreme Court decision, including how you consider the approach will work in practice. Details of how to make a submission are provided below.

How to make a submission on the provisions in the Bill

Before making a submission, please read our policy on treatment of written evidence. This policy is available in British Sign Language at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6vJOPj0GlE

In line with that policy, submissions will normally be published on our website. We recognise that in some circumstances people may prefer for their evidence to be treated as confidential or published anonymously. If you wish to do this, please make this clear when submitting your evidence.

Written submissions should be reasonably brief and typewritten in Word format (preferably no more than 4-6 sides of A4 in total).

The deadline for receipt of written submissions is 5pm on 25th August 2017.

The Committee appreciates that this consultation is taking place over the summer holidays, and so it is amenable to accepting requests for comments to be submitted after the deadline. Please contact the clerks to discuss this on 0131 348 5204.

The Committee prefers to receive submissions electronically. These should be sent to es.submissions@parliament.scot

You may also send a hard copy of written submissions to:

Education and Skills Committee
Scottish Parliament
Holyrood
Edinburgh
EH99 1SP

We welcome written evidence in any language.

For further information about the Committee’s work on the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill please contact the clerks:

By email at es.submissions@parliament.scot

By phone on 0131 348 5204

We also welcome calls using the Text Relay service or in BSL through contactscotland-bsl.org/

If you would like to receive this document in Braille, or British Sign Language, please contact us and let us know.

Giving Oral Evidence to the Committee

The Committee provisionally intends to take evidence on the Bill on the mornings of 20th September, 27th September, 4th October and 25th October.

If you wish to be considered to give evidence on the bill please indicate this in your written submission. In addition if possible, please keep these mornings free. Clerks will contact witnesses in early September.