Protection register to be scrapped as electronic records come on stream

The government has been urged not to rush through proposals to
scrap the child protection register, writes Gordon

The NSPCC said “wide-reaching consultation and research” should
take place on the effects of scrapping the register before a
decision was made.

The plan to scrap the register was revealed in a major consultation
on safeguarding children launched last week. The government has
decided to “phase out the requirement to keep a separate child
protection register” because all children’s social care records
will have to be held electronically from 31 December under the
integrated children’s system.

But NSPCC policy officer Chris Mills said that while the charity
was aware of “some dysfunction” in the operation of the register,
the government must ensure that the electronic record system was
“fit for the job”.

Nushra Mapstone, professional officer for the British Association
of Social Workers, was concerned that the move could lead to
at-risk children being “lost” in the electronic records

But Lord Laming, who called for the register to be scrapped in his
report on the death of Victoria Climbie, welcomed the move.

He said: “I’m glad to see it go as I believe it had become a crutch
for some professionals who would only respond to a child’s needs if
the young person came with a child protection label around its

Laming added: “I also believe that the register has been used by
social services and others as a means of limiting access to

The Department for Education and Skills proposes that there could
be a “clear lead-in period”, possibly until January 2007, for
councils to make the change.

The move is likely to be opposed by many social care professionals.
More than 70 per cent of respondents to a Community Care website
poll in February this year said the register should not be

The consultation covers guidance to replace Working Together to
Safeguard Children, published in 1999, and arrangements for new
local safeguarding children’s boards, which all councils must set
up by 1 April 2006 to replace area child protection

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