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ContactPoint will cost more than thought

Gov project in budget creep shock

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The government has revealed that the ContactPoint children's directory will cost just under £44m a year to run, £3m more than previously stated.

Children's minister Beverly Hughes provided the figures in a parliamentary written answer on 9 March 2009. "Most will go directly to local authorities to fund staff to ensure the ongoing running, maintenance, operation and security of ContactPoint," she wrote in answer to a question from Conservative shadow justice minister Eleanor Laing.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families said the previous estimate of £41m was given in 2005, and the increase is due to inflation. The cost of establishing the system, which will contain details on all all children in England, remains at £224m.

In reply to a separate question from Shailesh Vara, the Conservative deputy shadow leader of Parliament, Hughes said that the department has sought the views of young people, parents and carers in developing ContactPoint.

"This work has shown that, in general, children and young people understand the benefits of ContactPoint," she wrote. "Understandably, they want reassurance that the system will be secure and accurate; that practitioners will use their information appropriately and respect their privacy, and that access to ContactPoint will be limited to those who need it to do their job."

She added that the department will distribute material to inform young people, parents and carers to inform them about the system, which will "take into account Fair Processing Notice obligations under the Data Protection Act 1998," through a variety of channels, including direct mail to households where practical.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

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