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Children: ContactPoint

Volume 712: debated on Wednesday 8 July 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the ContactPoint database will affect the privacy of children and their carers. [HL4632]

ContactPoint is an online directory to enable the delivery of co-ordinated support for children and young people. It will be the quick way for practitioners to find out who else is working with the same child. ContactPoint will contain basic identifying information about all children and young people in England up to their 18th birthday and contact details for their parents/carers and for services working with the child or young person—nothing more. It does not and will not contain any financial information (such as bank details) or case information (such as case notes, assessments, medical records, exam results, comments or subjective observations).

We have always sought a balance between children's and families' rights to the services to which they are entitled, and their individual rights to privacy, and we take our responsibilities under the European Convention on Human Rights very seriously. We have ensured that ContactPoint complies with the relevant legal obligations and had a public consultation on the draft ContactPoint regulations in 2006. The primary legislation and ContactPoint regulations were scrutinised by Parliament.

ContactPoint has a significant set of security measures and controls in place and meets recognised industry and Government assurance levels for security. We have an ongoing commitment to security and regular testing will be carried out. All ContactPoint users have to state clear reasons for access and all use of the system will be subject to monitoring and audit. Sanctions are in place for misuse under the provisions of the Data Protection Act and Computer Misuse Act.