Calls to scrap youth database

Calls to scrap youth database

National network to hold children’s details attacked by MPs fearing security concerns

The UK government is under pressure to scrap its planned national children’s database after a report from consultants warning it can never be made totally secure.

The ContactPoint scheme is intended to help childcare professionals, medical staff and teachers share information on vulnerable young people, to stop potential cases slipping through gaps between the different services. The £224m project was launched following the Climbie inquiry.

The scheme is due to go live in the autumn, but both opposition parties are calling for it to be stopped after a review by consultancy Deloitte questioned its

“It should be noted that risk can only be managed, not eliminated, and therefore there will always be a risk of data security incidents occurring,” says the report.

Children’s minister Kevin Brennan is refusing to publish the findings in full “to minimise the kind of security risk our procedures are designed to prevent.”

Tory shadow families minister Maria Miller said the report reveals a series of significant problems, and is demanding full details.

“Plans to launch the database in under 12 months are totally unrealistic,” she told the Commons last week.

“What little we have been allowed to see of this report will not allay the fears about this project, and fuels yet more concern about the necessity of creating a database containing the details of every child in the country.”

Liberal Democrat children, young people and families spokeswoman Annette Brooke said: “The review undermines the government’s assurances that the database will be secure. With doubts about security remaining, this project should be scrapped.”

The scheme was originally designed in 2003 following the inquiry chaired by Lord Laming into events leading up to the death of Victoria Climbie.

The plan is for a national network of databases, so that any official can flag up potential concerns to other agencies.

But the programme has been dogged by problems, including delays in rollout of related local authority systems and continuing security concerns.