ContactPoint child database goes live


ContactPoint, a controversial database of all children in the UK, has now been flipped live.

The database holds details on all children across England, in order to link up services involved in caring for them, such as social workers or health care. The first childcare workers including doctors and head teachers to have access will be based in 17 local authorities in the North West.

ContactPoint was created following a review after the abuse and murder of eight-year-old Victoria Climbi, who was killed by family members despite being in contact with social workers.

"If we are to do our best to make sure children are protected and that no child slips through the net, then it's crucial the right agencies are involved at the right time and get even better at sharing information," Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, Ed Balls said in a statement ahead of the launch.

"ContactPoint is vital for this because it will enable frontline professionals to see quickly and easily who else is in contact with a child," he added.

Children's Minister Delyth Morgan also predicted the ContactPoint system would save five million hours of care workers' time, by cutting the amount of effort they put into tracking down information.

The 40 million database was developed and implemented by Capgemini, and initially set to go live in 2008.

While the government claimed all people with access to the store of data on the nation's children have been through "stringent security measures and training", a report two years ago suggested that the database could never be secure, leading to delays to improve security. It was initially further delayed after the HMRC data breach in 2007.