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Government yet to set ContactPoint closure date

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The Department for Education has yet to set a timetable to abolish the controversial database of all children in England.

A spokesperson for the department told GC News that, unlike ID cards and the National Identity Register, the abolition of ContactPoint does not require primary legislation.

She said that necessary changes to regulations will be made in "due course", but did not indicate when this would be.

The cost of ContactPoint would have reached £227m over five years, including £24m for setting it up. The former Department for Children, Schools and Families had budgeted £41m annually for its operating costs.

However, the Labour government had estimated that the database would save five million practitioner hours, equivalent to £88m a year, once it was fully operational.

ContactPoint, designed by Capgemini, holds basic information on children, including name, address, and an identifying number, along with names and contact details of parents or cares, but not private records or subjective information.

Plans for a national child index were announced in 2005. The aim was to improve child protection by enabling social services to share data across agency boundaries. The plans were a response to the recommendations of the Laming inquiry into the abuse and death of eight year old Victoria Climbie in 2000.

However, the database raised concerns among privacy lobbyists about what it would store and who would be allowed access.

This article was originally published at Kable.

Kable's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

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