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Controversial national database for children to be scrapped

23 July 2010

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A national database intended to help different agencies work together on cases concerning vulnerable children is being scrapped by the government.

Details of all 11 million children in England were stored on the ContactPoint register with a view to improving how doctors, teachers and social workers communicated over cases involving a particular child.

The scheme, which was widely criticised, will close on 6 August to honour a pledge in the new government’s coalition agreement to scrap the project.

The decommissioning was confirmed in a written Commons statement by junior children’s minister Tim Loughton, who said: “It has always been our view that it was disproportionate and unjustifiable to hold records on every child in the country, making them accessible to large numbers of people,”

After considering whether it was necessary to keep the database in operation for an interim period to allow a “move towards a more targeted approach”, he said: “It is now clear that it is not and in the light of the coalition government’s clear pledge to end ContactPoint as soon as practicable, we will now proceed to shut it down.

“On 6 August, we will switch the database off and we will subsequently decommission it, safely removing and destroying the existing data.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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