Children’s services directors have urged the government to maintain the focus on information-sharing, even though the coalition is to scrap the ContactPoint database.
Marion Davis, president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), said: “It is important that we do not lose the focus on the need for professionals working with a child to be aware of who else is working with that child and family. ContactPoint was one approach to solving that problem.”
The Department for Children, Schools and Families, now the Department for Education, awarded business consultancy Capgemini a £40m contract in 2007 to build and host ContactPoint, from 2008 until 2014.
Davis said local authorities and central government had invested “substantial resources into establishing the database and the systems necessary to support it without yet getting the benefits of a fully operational database”.
She added: “We would be concerned if all this effort is to be wasted, particularly if a different solution is to be proposed. We think there are ways that the infrastructure developed can be constructively used locally to help improve services to children and families.”
A social worker, who works for a council in London, said: “If the end of ContactPoint means better recording and communicating, it’s a good thing. Social work these days seems to involve working with a lot of electronic systems which don’t all work properly.”
Peter Dolby, a consultant in children’s services, said ContactPoint “should have been used for the benefit of child protection, as opposed to recording every child’s information. That took up a lot of space and resources”.
A spokesperson for the Local Government Association said: “Council leaders have been stressing the importance of a more co-ordinated approach to dealing with vulnerable children, particularly by making increased use of the Common Assessment Framework which will ensure better cross-referencing of cases.”