ContactPoint is to be scrapped, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said today.
Clegg, who is overseeing the coalition government’s political reform plans, said: “There will be no ContactPoint children’s database.
“Schools will not take children’s fingerprints without even asking their parents’ consent.”
The speech is billed as heralding the most radical and ambitious legislation programme since the reform acts of the 19th century.
Clegg said: “As we tear through the statute book, we’ll do something no government ever has.
“We will ask you which laws you think should go because thousands of criminal offences were created under the previous government. Taking people’s freedom away didn’t make our streets safe.
“Obsessive lawmaking simply makes criminals out of ordinary people. So, we’ll get rid of the unnecessary laws and, once they’re gone, they won’t come back.”
Peter Dolby, a consultant in children’s services, agreed that ContactPoint should be reviewed but warned against “rash decisions.” “A review should look at how to use ContactPoint for the benefit of child protection as opposed to recording every child’s information. That took up a lot of space and resources,” he said.
A social worker said: “It could have been a good safeguarding tool if it had been implemented properly, but ContactPoint was too centralised and not personalised enough.
“I can see why Clegg wanted to scrap it. I just hope they put something better in its place as there’s no doubt some sort of high quality information-sharing tool is necessary.”
A social worker, who works for a local authority in London, said: “If the end of ContactPoint means better recording and communicating, it’s a good thing. Talking to other professionals about the information we need is always best and we don’t get to do this enough.
“Social work these days seems to involve working with electronic systems which don’t all work properly. It doesn’t give us time for reflective practice. Admin has taken over.”
“After all that investment! What a shame,” said one social work manager.