SASW has received the following statement from the Scottish Government on 15 December:
"The Education and Skills Committee wrote to the Presiding Officer, as Chair of the Parliamentary Bureau on 7th December to seek an open ended extension to Stage 1 of the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) Scotland Bill. The Committee stated that they could not consider the Bill at this stage until they were presented with an authoritative draft Code of Practice. Only then could they consider progressing Stage 1. On 13th December, the Scottish Parliament agreed the motion to pause Stage 1 so that the original deadline of 22nd December 2017 for the completion of Stage 1 no longer applies.
While the Deputy First Minister disagrees with the Committee’s decision, the Government did not oppose the procedural motions giving effect to the Committee’s decision. The Scottish Government will work with the Committee and Parliament to agree a renewed date for resumption of the Stage 1 process in due course.
The Scottish Government remains fully committed to the Getting It Right For Every Child approach and will work with partners to strengthen the approach and build public confidence as we move forward with the legislative process. Changes to information sharing provisions in the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 will bring consistency, clarity and coherence to the practice of sharing information about the wellbeing of children and young people across Scotland.=
We are establishing a panel, to be independently chaired by Ian Welsh OBE, and that will include practitioner representation, to develop a code that is workable, comprehensive and user friendly. We will update you on this as soon as the panel’s remit and membership has been finalised. Please be assured that the draft Code of Practice and the final Code will be developed in full consultation with key stakeholders and practitioners, taking account of concerns raised, as the Deputy First Minister has made clear. Once we have an authoritative draft Code this will be presented to the Committee and we anticipate that then they will be in a position to resume Stage 1 scrutiny."
SASW manager Trisha Hall commented:
“We welcome the Scottish Government’s constructive process on addressing the concerns raised by various agencies and stakeholders, including SASW. We hope the work will be informed by Article 8 of the UNCRC. Social workers want to Get It Right For Every Child and regularly share information as part of their ongoing involvement with children, young people and their families. Our experience suggests that the best foundation for a working relationship which supports a better way forward is if that information is, wherever possible, shared with consent. We hope the guidance in the proposed Code of Practice will reflect this, and that it will be a clear and understandable tool for the professionals as well as the people at the receiving end of public services. SASW has offered our input and support to this process, and we wish the Chair every success in progressing the task.”