Capgemini to launch children's database system in England

by Editor 8/28/2008 4:37:00 PM
Capgemini will launch the ContactPoint system, worth £224 million, this autumn. The system was designed to hold data on all children under 18 in England for the purpose of protecting them from the risk of harm or abuse.

The government confirmed this week that police will be able to apply for access to the database as well as request archived data for such purposes as “the prevention or detection of crime” and “the prosecution of offenders.”

“To access ContactPoint for the purposes of prevention or detection of crime or for the prosecution of offenders, police would have to make a special request directly to the Secretary of State or the local authority,” said a spokesman for the Department of Children, Schools and Families.

The mandatory national database will include minors’ names, ages, addresses and details of their parents, GPs, social workers and schools.

The idea of a national children’s database originally came about in the aftermath of the Victoria Climbie case. The purpose of the database is to make it possible for schools, social workers and other professionals to share information if they suspect a child to be in danger.

The government also says that, while the ContactPoint records will not contain case information, they will include information on whether or not the minors have contact with a Youth Offending Team or similar services.

The database will be updated until young people turn 18 and then it will be archived for six years. This means that the information will be available to different services dealing with children until the age of 24, after which records will be destroyed. Children who are in care or have learning difficulties will remain on file until the age of 25, meaning their records will still be in the archives when they turn 30.

Even though a 2007 Deloitte report identified a “significant risk” in the system, one related to differing security procedures used by the organisations in question, the government has decided to employ ContactPoint nevertheless, an outcome that will not please privacy campaigners.

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