THE Scottish Government should “repackage” its Named Persons policy after it was sunk by “scaremongering”, an expert in children’s rights claims.

Academic Tracy Kirk, of Glasgow Caledonian University, spoke out after an independent panel established to draw up guidance for the controversial plan, which seeks to stop vulnerable children and young people slipping through the cracks by appointing health workers, teachers and midwives as welfare monitors for the youngest Scots.

Opponents accused the Scottish Government of interfering in family life and eroding parental rights and when the Supreme Court ruled that some information-sharing proposals would breach European privacy and family life rules, its planned August 2021 roll-out was delayed. Last week it emerged that a group set up by Deputy First Minister John Swinney to write a code of practice has determined that this is “not the right thing to do at this time” and that “the complexity of this would mean it would not be easy to understand or apply in practice”.

The findings provoked calls by the No To Named Persons campaign (NO2NP) and Scottish Conservatives to scrap the scheme for good. Now law lecturer Kirk, who specialises on the rights of children and adolescents, has told The National that “scaremongering” around the Named Persons plan – branded a snooper’s charter by opponents – has damaged a scheme which could “empower” and protect youngsters.

She said: “The way this has been framed has made it seem like it is the Government taking the rights of parents away. It is about empowering children so that if they have got an issue they know who they can go and speak to. That part of it is completely missing from the media.

“There is an assumption that parents know what is right, but that is not always the case. Children have protective rights, but also participatory rights – children are people too.

“If I was advising the Scottish Government, I would be telling them to get rid of the title Named Persons and repackage it.”

The minutes recorded by the panel acknowledge that the failure to produce a code of practice will result in “disappointment from a number of agencies”.

But Simon Calvert of NO2NP said the result could be a “knock-out blow to the Scottish Government’s state snooper scheme” and Tory shadow education secretary Liz Smith called on the SNP to “admit defeat and consign this policy to the dustbin”.

The charities Children 1st, Barnardo’s, Action for Children and Aberlour have already expressed their concerns about “inaccurate and unjustified” claims about Named Persons by its detractors.

The Scottish Government said: “Ministers are currently considering the advice and recommendations of the expert panel.

“We remain committed to promoting good information sharing practice in the best interests of Scotland’s children and families.”