Red Light for Children’s Databases

A report published by the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust this week entitled ‘The Database State – Scrap it Fix it or Keep it?’ has given the ‘red light’ on privacy grounds to several databases used to track children for child protection purposes, namely ContactPoint (details of every child in the country and who is working with them – recently remarked upon by Lord Laming in his second report on child protection in the wake of Baby P as a database which ‘will have particular advantages in reducing the possibility of children for whom there are concerns going unnoticed’.) and eCAF (assessment of children in need). The Integrated Children’s Services (social work case management tool) database which has already been the subject of criticism from Lord Laming and Social Workers for distracting social workers from the social work judgments they need to make to keep children safe and filling up their time instead with data entry received an amber light.


Various articles today but read for example this article in The Guardian. I for one find it creepy that before his first birthday data is built up, stored and circulated about my son which years later may affect him and the way agencies relate to him.

POSTSCRIPT: And now work on ContactPoint has halted because its not secure enough to protect vulnerable children. See here.

Laming Report Published

Lord Laming’s Report in the wake of the Baby P tragedy was published this week. It can be found here. Of particular relevance to family lawyers Lord Laming recommends an urgent review of the £4,000 fees for the issue of care proceedings and that steps should be taken to reduce the average case length in care cases. Other recommendations include the proposal that all new social workers should have some hands on experience of working with children and families before being ‘let loose’ on a full caseload (I for one am shocked it possible for this to happen in the first place).