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Point of Order

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

The Under-Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Kevin Brennan), today issued a written statement about ContactPoint, the children’s database. The statement suggests fundamental concerns about the security of ContactPoint, uncovered through a report commissioned at the Government’s request by Deloitte. It calls into question the likelihood of the database being delivered on time or on budget. The Government also announced that they will withhold the details of the Deloitte report, making scrutiny of its findings all but impossible.

That is a highly controversial issue. The database deals with the details of 11 million children in the country. A written statement to the House gives no opportunity to question the Government on that important project. What guidance can you give the House, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to ensure proper scrutiny of the issue by Members?

It is up to the Government to decide how they report matters to the House. They have the option of using written or oral statements or informing the House in other ways. The Chair is therefore unable to comment on that. However, the fact that the hon. Lady has placed the matter before the House will be noted and I daresay there may be other opportunities to pursue the matter.