ContactPoint database of children in EnglandJanuary 2, 2009 at 11:44 pm | Posted in Children, ContactPoint, Privacy | 3 Comments
Tags: Chelsea, Child protection, Children's privacy, Databases, Government, HM Government, Kensington, Maidenhead, Opt out, Privacy, RBKC, RBWM, Royal Boroughs, Security, Shield, UK, Windsor
Yes, today I did make a point of contacting the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) to ask who is responsible for ContactPoint in our Local Authority.
The Customer Services Centre representative had never heard of ContactPoint. I explained it is a database that stores basic personal information on each and every child living in England, and is (purported to have been) set up so that only authorised personnel from ‘the authorities’ can find out the other adult points of contact in that child’s life (parents, school staff, medical staff, social workers, etc.), and, according to RBWM website, the system is scheduled to go live in our area in April 2009.
These are the basic facts on ContactPoint from HM Government:
… and this is what Wikipedia has to say on the matter:
The reason I want to find out who is responsible for ContactPoint now, is that we parents would like to opt our children out of this database. Of course, I discovered that the Government has prevented opt-outs. This means that the only way to attempt to protect our family’s privacy is to accept that data on our children (and ourselves to a lesser degree) will be included automatically whether we consent to this or not, but we may request a ‘shield’ for our children to limit what is displayed to authorised users. Apparently, this shielding option (handled on a case-by-case basis) is what the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is suggesting and publicising to their residents, according to this article that appeared in the Telegraph during Christmas week:
The Customer Services Centre representative kindly tried, unsuccessfully, to connect me to Social Services for Children.
I rang three more times this afternoon, and even held on for seven minutes (obediently following recorded instructions to hold, assuring me an adviser would be with me shortly), to no avail. Next week, I shall try again, and intend to let you know how I get on, so we can decide what to do next …