The information sharing index will aid more effective prevention and early intervention as a tool to support practitioners to improve outcomes for children, and is therefore a key element of the Every Child Matters programme. The index will hold only basic information about children and young people such as name, address, gender, date of birth, an identifying number, and contact details for services working with them.
The Information Sharing Index (England) Regulations 2006 came into effect on 7 April 2006. They provided for data matching trials to take place, as essential initial work in the development and implementation of the index.
The aim was to examine a sample of records from the main data sources, to enable an assessment of how comprehensively each covers the population of children, which is the most reliable source of accurate and up-to-date information for each data item, and assess how disparities in the ways in which data sources record each item can most efficiently be overcome.
The trials were intended to provide an early indication of the expected level of data matching for the full national index. Samples of basic identifying information were supplied from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Department of Health (DH), the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) and nine local authorities. For records where it was possible to compare data held about a child by more than one source (about 90 per cent. of all records examined) there was sufficient correspondence to be very confident that the data was correct. For the remaining information, where it was not possible to compare the information, the index project will provide resources to investigate any discrepancies and correct them, leading to a high level of confidence in the index data. This supports the strategy underpinning the index business case of using data from a number of existing national and local sources.
The data matching trials report will shortly be made available on the Every Child Matters website. My officials will send the hon. Member a copy and place copies in the House Library.