ContactPoint switched off

06 AUG 2010

ContactpointThe government has announced it switched off the controversial children's database ContactPoint today.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning, children's minister Tim Loughton said: "We don't think that spreading very thinly a resource which contains details of all 11 million children in the entire country, more than 90% of which will never come into contact with children's services, is the best way of safeguarding genuinely vulnerable children."

The £235m database would have given an estimated 400,000 people access to personal information of all children under 18 as well as information about their parents, schools and medical records. Last November, the previous government rolled out ContactPoint to local authorities and frontline practitioners nationally.

However in his first official speech as Deputy Prime Minister, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg announced the Government's plans to scrap the scheme in line with in the Coalition Agreement.

As of midday today users are no longer able to access the system and the database will be destroyed using government-approved security standards and processes.    

The government is exploring an alternative to the database in the form of a "national signposting approach", which would focus on helping a smaller group of practitioners to find out whether a colleague elsewhere is working, or has previously worked, with the same vulnerable child.

ContactPoint suffered numerous set backs in its development including serious security breaches and long delays to its launch. A report in 2007 by auditors Deloitte said the database could never be totally secure.   

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