Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Tories to scrap ContactPoint but rollout continues.

CYPnow Children & Young People Now, tells us that:

Councils will not stall on rolling out ContactPoint the controversial database containing details of 11 million children in England.

The long-term future of the system, which cost £224m to develop, is in doubt after the Conservatives revealed they would scrap it should the party come to power at the next general election.

But Conservative councillor Les Lawrence, chair of the Local Government Association's children and young people's board, said the Conservative policy would not affect the way councils approach the rollout.

He said: "All local authorities work on the basis of ensuring they work within the law.To act outside that would be to hold the current elected government in contempt.In that sense they will fulfil the letter of the law, whether every single authority fulfils the spirit is a matter of conjecture."

Lawrence added that a number of authorities do have concerns around the security of children's information in the system.

Liverpool City Council has written to the government seeking assurances on a number of issues. A spokesman for the council said the authority will continue to adopt the system but is concerned about possible civil liberty implications.

These include the security of the information held in the database and whether parents and schools are fully aware of the system's introduction. ( From a small,personal survey, I can assure you they are not; most teachers and parents I have spoken to have never heard of it.)

Professionals working with children are currently undergoing training to enable them to use the online database.

A number of early adopter authorities, as well as the charities Barnardo's and Kids, are already ahead of a national rollout planned for later this year.

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