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Children: ContactPoint

Volume 711: debated on Thursday 4 June 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the current projected cost and date of implementation of the ContactPoint database. [HL3819]

The current projected cost for development and set-up of ContactPoint is £224 million, most of which is expected to be incurred by the end of the financial year 2009-10.

ContactPoint moved into its first phase of delivery in January 2009 when 19 early adopter organisations, comprising 17 local authorities in the North West of England and two national voluntary sector partners—Barnardo's and KIDS—began to train their ContactPoint management teams. In parallel, all local authorities started to shield a small proportion of records on ContactPoint.

Early adopter organisations have now started to train a limited and controlled group of practitioners to use ContactPoint. These practitioners, who must all go through stringent security checks and training before accessing the system, are being carefully monitored in order to evaluate their experience of using the system. From June to August 2009, ContactPoint management teams in the remaining local authorities and national partner organisations will be trained. This will enable them to make local preparations for wider deployment to users.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether local authorities must register the mobile phone numbers of parents ordinarily resident in England on the ContactPoint database, rather than home or business phone numbers. [HL3820]

Information held on ContactPoint has been clearly set out and restricted in Section 12 of the Children Act 2004. Local authorities must supply to ContactPoint the contact details they hold for parents. This could include a mobile telephone number, a landline number which is used for domestic or business purposes or any combination of these.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to advise parents on the process of “shielding” on the Contact Point database. [HL3821]

The department and local authorities are already making information about ContactPoint available to children, young people and their parents/carers using a range of methods, such as direct mailing to households, leaflet distribution, publications on websites and through the media.

Activity has been taking place across England for some time and will increase over the coming months. A range of materials are widely available, including leaflets suitable for young people. The materials include information about shielding, which is an additional security measure appropriate for a small proportion of children's records. Young people, parents or carers are advised to contact their local authority if they have reason to believe their own or their child's record should be shielded on ContactPoint.

More detailed information is available on the Department for Children, Schools and Families website.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the training programmes and format for the accreditation for security purposes required by professionals who will work with the children and young people to be registered on the ContactPoint database. [HL3824]

In order for professionals who work with children and young people to become authorised users of ContactPoint they must:

have an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check, renewed every three years;

attend and successfully complete mandatory training on the use of ContactPoint, which includes security responsibilities, the importance of good security practice, the Data Protection Act and Human Rights Act;

be provided with the ContactPoint Security Operating Procedures; and

sign an end user agreement form which sets out the responsibilities and commitments that an authorised user of ContactPoint agrees.

ContactPoint users will also need to be subject to monitoring by the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) when it is introduced.