Consultation on information sharing proposals launched

The Department for Education and Skills today launched a consultation on regulations for the planned children’s information sharing index in England.

The DfES proposals would allow social workers and other children’s professionals, including youth offending team members, teachers and voluntary sector staff, to access the database.

The index will contain basic information, including name, address, date of birth and an identifying number, on all children aged under 18 who are ordinarily resident in England.

Information related to children’s involvement with sensitive services, such as sexual health or mental health services, will be only included with the consent of the child or their parent or carer.

However, a report two weeks ago from England’s children’s commissioner, Al Aynsley-Green, found young people could be deterred from using sensitive services by concerns about the confidentiality of the database.

The Children Act 2004 gave the government the power to establish the database.

This followed Lord Laming’s report into the death of Victoria Climbié, which found that information about Victoria had not been properly recorded and communication between professionals was poor.

See also: The Bigger Picture on Child Protection

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