Ministers defend database
The government has defended its plans to create national
databases containing basic information on all children this week in
response to criticisms from MPs, writes Amy Taylor.
Last April the Education and Skills Select Committee said that the
decision to proceed with the databases had been taken before there
was enough evidence to prove its worth but the government says that
no decision on going ahead has yet been taken.
The government, which makes the comments in its response to the
committee’s report on the children’s green paper Every
Child Matters, said that it would take such decisions when
ministers were satisfied that there was a ‘robust business
case’ for the databases and that this would be informed by
evidence from the 11 information sharing and assessment
trailblazers. This is due to happen in the autumn.
The committee had also raised concerns about the security,
confidentiality and access arrangements of the databases. The
government said that security controls would be independently
audited and scrutinised and that it was committed to client
The government also rejected the committee’s
recommendation for a review of the role and the remit of the
children’s commissioner to take place within three years of
his appointment. It said that it would review the role as the
commissioner’s work developed.
The Government’s Response to the Education and Skills
Select Committee’s Ninth Report of Session 2004-05: Every
Child Matters from: www.dfes.gov.uk