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Children: Databases

Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 17 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment he has made of the reliability of the shielding process on the ContactPoint database; and if he will make a statement. (266743)

Shielding of a small proportion of children's records on ContactPoint is an additional security measure, above the significant security arrangements that apply to the system in general. It is appropriate in cases where there might be a risk of harm if the child's location became known.

The system processes to support shielding were assessed as part of the extensive testing of ContactPoint by the ContactPoint project team and a selection of future ContactPoint users drawn from local authorities and our national partners. The system processes were confirmed as working correctly. The ContactPoint project team has also considered feedback received from local authorities undertaking pre-deployment shielding activities.

All local authorities have confirmed completion of the initial shielding phase of ContactPoint, and early adopters have begun controlled practitioner use. We continue to take a measured approach to introducing ContactPoint, which includes assessment of the experience of use of the system by Early Adopters.