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Trials of the ContactPoint children's database have shown the majority of users find the system helpful, according to the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

The ContactPoint, lessons from the early adopter phase report, published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, says that in feedback from "early adopters" of the system, 75% of child care practitioners said it would be useful in their future work. Only 1% of users said the system would not be helpful at all.

Data administration was found to be "resource intensive", but practitioners said this was not unexpected as quality control of data in ContactPoint and other systems was crucial.

Schools secretary Ed Balls said the evaluation of early adopter sites shows a "great deal of progress" has been made since May 2009 and the government is now "well placed" to move forward to national deployment.

Trials at 20 early adopter organisations - 18 local authorities in the North West of England, plus the charities Barnardo's and Kids – ran from January to March 2009. 800 childcare practitioners were trained to use the system, 550 from local authorities and 250 with Barnardo's.

The report says that of the 11m children in England, 3-4m need support from specialist services at any one time. ContactPoint has been designed as an online directory which provides a quick way for authorised people to find out who else is working with the same child.

It has been developed in response to a key recommendation of Lord Laming's inquiry into the death of Victoria Climbié, which highlighted the need to improve information sharing between different agencies working with children.

This article was originally published at Kable.

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