Monday, 6 April 2009

DO YOU WANT YOUR CHILDREN’S DETAILS ON A DATABASE?


Laura Sandys press release


The Conservative Party has fought against the Government’s plans to put every child’s details on a central database called ContactPoint.

We have described ContactPoint as ‘the Government’s latest expensive database disaster waiting to happen’. We strongly opposed its creation during the passage of the Children Act and voted against it at all stages. We challenged its usefulness as a child protection measure and instead advocated a smaller central ‘signposting’ database concentrated on genuinely vulnerable children such as those in care or on the At Risk Register rather than diluting the effort across eleven million children, the majority of whom will never need to come into contact with social workers for example.


At last year’s Party Conference Michael Gove confirmed that the next Conservative Government will scrap ContactPoint and that remains our position today.

The implementation of ContactPoint has already been delayed several times and was the subject of a review into its security after we questioned its integrity following the loss of the Child Tax Credit discs, several database scandals ago. There were reports in The Times and Telegraph suggesting that implementation has again been ‘slowed’ following further problems that could compromise the identity of adopted children. This comes as no surprise.


In the meantime parents are advised to contact their local authorities and ask for their children’s details to be ‘shielded’ - a device for supposedly affording additional security to certain categories of vulnerable children and those of celebrities and others in public office.

3 comments:

  1. Something else for a civil servant to loose or sell I am torn because of the Austria Fritzel thing but I can only see down sides so I am yet to be conviced it is a good idea

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust commissioned a report into government data bases.

    The report can be downloaded from their site, Happy reading.

    http://www.jrrt.org.uk/

    The report assesses 46 databases across the major government departments, and finds that:
    A quarter of the public-sector databases reviewed are almost certainly illegal under human rights or data protection law; they should be scrapped or substantially redesigned.
    More than half have significant problems with privacy or effectiveness and could fall foul of a legal challenge.
    Fewer than 15% of the public databases assessed in this report are effective, proportionate and necessary, with a proper legal basis for any privacy intrusions. Even so, some of them still have operational problems.
    Britain is out of line with other developed countries, where records on sensitive matters like healthcare and social services are held locally. In Britain, data is increasingly centralised, and shared between health and social services, the police, schools, local government and the taxman.
    The benefits claimed for data sharing are often illusory. Sharing can harm the vulnerable, not least by leading to discrimination and stigmatisation.
    The UK public sector spends over £16 billion a year on IT. Over £100 billion in spending is planned for the next five years, and even the Government cannot provide an accurate figure for cost of its ‘Transformational Government’ programme. Yet only about 30% of government IT projects succeed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think the thing that worries me the most is that with so much data escaping that we find out about, because the person who finds it reports it, there must be so much escaping that we never hear about.

    ReplyDelete

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