Deadline delay for children tracking pilots

The government’s 10 identification, referral and tracking pilot
projects have been delayed by six months after legal concerns led
to the suspension of plans in some areas, writes Amy

The pilot projects were each required to have set up practices to
improve information sharing by the end of March 2004, but this
deadline has now been put back to the end of September 2004.

The first six IRT trailblazers were selected in August 2002
followed by a further four in January 2003.

The IRT pilot project in Bolton put on hold its plans for a
database of children’s details accessible to a range of agencies,
including social services, after legal advice that it could be
unlawful for a primary care trust to enter these details on such a
database. Kensington and Chelsea has put plans for a similar
database on hold following Bolton’s legal advice.

Education secretary Charles Clarke said he hopes new legislation
to aid information sharing would be included in a children’s
services bill in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

Pilot projects have received a grant of around £1 million
while all local authorities with social services departments
have been given £100,000 to improve information sharing.

A Department for Education and Skills spokesperson said the
councils still have to reach a March 2004 minimum requirement
deadline to “improve communication and information sharing between
education, social care and health” as outlined in guidance from the
Children and Young People’s Unit .

“The funding has been extended to September 2004 to simply allow
local authorities or trailblazers to further embed and improve on
those minimum requirements,” she said.

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