I asked yesterday what the government could get up to within the 24 hours before I got round to writing this post.
Well, where would you start? There would be plenty of things. But I’ll stick with just the one thing: ContactPoint.
ore than three times as many officials will be able to access sensitive information on every child in England and Wales held in the forthcoming ContactPoint database than estimates circulated by the government suggest, research by The Register has found.
ContactPoint is now scheduled to launch in January. It will store and share data including every child’s name, home address and school, and information about their legal guardians. The government has argued it could help prevent cases similar to the horrific death of Baby P, whose tormentors were convicted at the Old Bailey yesterday.
Publicly available staffing figures from education authorities, the NHS, social services and other organisations show that more than one million government employees will have access to ContactPoint.
Over one million people will have access to the database, eh?
So, that’s one in every sixty people will have access to the names, address and school of every child in the country. Not one or two of them; every single child.
And how will these million users sort out the few thousand children at risk from the millions of others? I’ve no idea, because I’m fairly sure that any warning signs will be drowned out by the sheer volume of other things. Hell, I’ve no idea how a centralised database of just a few thousand at-risk children would help notice the ones really at risk. Basically, it’ll still take one social worker, doctor or police officer to draw the line in the sand past which they feel that the child is in an unacceptable position. Three staff members each making the third of that decision at different times and then expecting the usual SuperMagicDatabase™ to add all of those together and then act is somewhat unrealistic. I think, anyway.
But, as per usual, I don’t think that anyone will listen to me…