Feeds

UK.gov child data-sharing scheme delayed (again)

Controversial ContactPoint hit by 'user interface problems'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

ContactPoint, the government's planned database to cover every child in England and Wales, has been delayed again, but officials said fears over the potential for massive data losses were not to blame this time.

The scheme had been scheduled to go live in April this year, but was delayed until October by government-wide inquiries into repeated data losses, most notably by HMRC. Yesterday the Department for Children, Schools and Families said user interface problems now mean ContactPoint won't be ready until January.

Brennan told MPs: "We have identified some issues as a result of recent system tests which we are working urgently to address." ContactPoint has been built by CapGemini.

The database will store and share contact details between schools, social services, doctors and other agencies who have contact with and keep records on children.

It won't contain specific case details, but will keep a record of when a child is seen, and allow workers to get in touch with each other if they believe it is necessary. Critics have argued that provisions allowing "for the prevention or detection of crime" will mean police and prosecutors could use ContactPoint to trawl for suspects or to stigmatise young people based on their history.

The Conservatives scorned government claims the latest delay was not caused by security problems. Shadow families minister Maria Miller said: "There were clear indications in February of significant security concerns with this database. Only now, with just weeks to go until the project is supposed to go live, have they finally agreed to pull back to try to iron out some of the problems. Ministers now need to come clean and confirm whether this delay is because children's personal information is at risk."

The Liberal Democrats called for the project to be scrapped altogether, saying the HMRC data loss reviews proved the government could not be trusted on security.

ContactPoint is the flagship of the "Every Child Matters" initiative launched by the government following the murder of Victoria Climbié. An inquiry found her abuse could have been stopped if departments who held information on her case had communicated. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.