Few civil liberty concerns recorded

    Civil liberty worries about databases of children’s details have
    been overstated, new findings suggest.

    Telford and Wrekin Council, which is running one of the 10
    identification, referral and tracking pilots in England, sent out
    more than 21,000 letters in February informing the local community
    of plans to store children’s basic details on an electronic
    database.

    The council received only 50 queries as a result of the letters,
    and only five of these were serious concerns about families’ civil
    liberties.

    “Families want us to keep shared information,” IRT project manager
    Sara Tough said. “They don’t want to keep repeating the same
    things.”

    She said it was important to base information-sharing on shared
    values and that developing a core assessment for all professionals
    to use was central to this. A common assessment also provided an
    evidence base for professionals if they needed to share information
    without parents’ consent, she said.

    NSPCC policy adviser Natalie Cronin said the charity would support
    a database that allowed professionals to contact one another, but
    not one that included concerns about a child, which would then be
    open to interpretation. She called for details stored on databases
    to be kept simple, and for a list of what should be stored and
    shared to be included in the bill.

    “Different professions operate to different practices of
    confidentiality. That is another argument for keeping it simple.
    That way you are able to get all agencies involved.”

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