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In his first official speech as Deputy Prime Minister today, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg announced the Government's plans to scrap the controversial children's database ContactPoint.
The 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.
Since the law governing ContactPoint came into force in August 2007, the database has cost over £224 million and come under criticism for security breaches and for numerous delays to its launch date. A report in 2007 by auditors Deloitte said the database could never be totally secure.
In his speech Mr Clegg promised the coalition government will restore Britain's civil liberties.
"It is outrageous that decent, law-abiding people are regularly treated as if they have something to hide. It has to stop.
"We will end practices that risk making Britain a place where our children grow up so used to their liberty being infringed that they accept it without question. There will be no ContactPoint children's database," Mr Clegg said.
"Schools will not take children's fingerprints without even asking their parent's consent," he added.
The announcement will be disappointing to several major children's charities who backed the database, including the NSPCC, Barnardo's and Action for Children.
Speaking last November, Martin Narey, Chief Executive of Barnardo's, said: "Barnardo's has been supportive of ContactPoint from the outset because we believe that this initiative has the potential to provide a quick and easy way for professionals to find out who else is working with a child, making it easier for us to spot more children of particular vulnerability."
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