Page last updated at 10:48 GMT, Monday, 18 May 2009 11:48 UK

Database of all children launched

Victoria Climbie
The database was proposed after the death of Victoria Climbie

A controversial database which holds the details of every child in England has become available to childcare professionals for the first time.

ContactPoint, a response to Lord Laming's report following the death of Victoria Climbie, is beginning its national roll-out in the north west.

But the system, costing £224m, has been delayed twice amid data security fears.

The government says it will enable more co-ordinated services for children and ensure none slips through the net.

It will hold the details of 11 million children and young people aged up to 18 years.

The delays were prompted by concerns over access to the database. In 2007, a report into the project by auditors Deloitte and Touche said it could never be totally secure.

Last summer ministers delayed the database, admitting there were some "issues" identified in testing.

It says 390,000 people will have access to the database, but will have gone through stringent security training.

'Save time'

The system will be available to workers in 17 local authorities in the north west of England, before eventually being rolled out across the rest of the country.

More than 51,000 children deemed vulnerable will have their identities and information shielded, the government says, after fears were raised that information about children's whereabouts could fall into the wrong hands.

CONTACTPOINT DATA
Name, address, date of birth, gender and contact details for parents or carers
Each child also has a unique identifying number
Details of the child's school and GP practice and for other practitioners or services working with the child
Whether the practitioner is the lead professional for that child
Source: DCSF

The government said the database was vital to prevent any child slipping through the net, and would enable professionals to see quickly and easily which other services and people were in contact with a child.

England's children's minister, Delyth Morgan, said: "Under current arrangements if a practitioner believes that a child is at risk or may need additional support, for example if they have a disability, they may have no way of knowing whether other services might already be in contact with that child.

"We estimate that ContactPoint, when fully operational, can save at least five million hours of professionals' time, freeing them up from trying to track down other practitioners and enabling them to spend more time on the child."

The Conservatives have called for the database to be scrapped.

But it has been welcomed by the chief executive of children's charity Barnardo's, Martin Narey, who said it "would make it easier to deliver better-co-ordinated services".



Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
Action pledged over child safety
12 Mar 09 |  England
Reaction: child protection report
12 Mar 09 |  England
Action urged on child protection
12 Mar 09 |  England
390,000 to access child database
26 Jan 09 |  Education
Database of children is delayed
28 Aug 08 |  Education
Child database system postponed
27 Nov 07 |  Education

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific