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Child's database work resumes

25th February 2008

The government intends to go forward with the development of the £224m children’s database, ContactPoint, although a review identified a "significant risk" to the system.

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ContactPoint was scheduled to begin operating in spring 2008, but will now start in September. It is designed to contain records for children aged from when they are born until the age of 18.

It will hold key data, including names, addresses, parental or guardian information and GP details. This has caused concern regarding how much "sensitive" data is stored about children.

Accountancy firm Deloitte and Touche published a summary of the review which said: "risk can only be managed, not eliminated, and therefore there will always be a significant risk of data security incidents".

The risk arises from the different security arrangements which are in place at organisations which access the system.

The government commissioned the report after the security problems experienced by HM Revenue and Customs (HRMC) in 2007 with child benefit data.

Deloitte added that "practical steps" should be made in order to lessen the danger of security breaches and that if a problem did occur, then it needed to be "managed effectively."

The government's children’s minister, Kevin Brennan, released a statement in response to the review as an acknowledgement. He said they would consider the report when restarting the project.

"We accept all the report's recommendations and will address them. The first task is to undertake an impact assessment of the detailed recommendations contained in the report.?





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