Children’s database launch delayed

ContactPoint, the electronic database that will hold information on all children in England, will miss its October start date, the government has said.

Junior children’s minister Kevin Brennan blamed the delay on “issues as a result of recent tests” and said the system would be postponed until January.

In a letter yesterday to Barry Sheerman MP, chair of the House of Commons’ children, schools and families committee, Brennan said more work needed to be done before embarking on the final phases of “rigorous” testing, including trials with users.

Information sharing

“All delivery partners will be notified today of the change in timetable. We will continue to work closely with them to minimise the impact on delivery and we will keep them updated with progress,” Brennan said.

ContactPoint, one of the outcomes of the Every Child Matters programme, will set out to improve information sharing between agencies by holding basic information on all children. This will include identifying information, contact details for schools, GPs or other services, and will indicate whether a practitioner or service is assessing that child, but it will not hold any case information.

Last November, children’s secretary Ed Balls ordered an independent review into the security surrounding ContactPoint, following the child benefit records security lapse. In February, the review by consultancy firm Deloitte said the database would always face data security threats.

More information

Kevin Brennan’s letter

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