Children: Databases

Education written question – answered on 16th September 2010.

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Photo of Jake Berry Jake Berry Conservative, Rossendale and Darwen

To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether the Government plans to replace ContactPoint.

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

I refer the hon. Member to my written statement issued on 22 July 2010, Hansard, columns 30-31WS.

We are exploring the practicality of an alternative national signposting service which would help practitioners find out whether a colleague elsewhere is working, or has previously worked, with the same vulnerable child. The approach would particularly take account of the needs of children who move between local authority areas or who access services in more than one local authority. Social workers in particular, and potentially other key services like the police or accident and emergency departments, may need this information very quickly and any new approach would seek to strengthen communication between these areas.

Critical to the success of any new service must be that it provides a modern, effective tool that supports the frontline and supports the broader aims of Eileen Munro's review to improve child protection and social work practice. It is also important that we keep the information held on any new service to the minimum necessary to allow effective identification of the individuals involved. We would also seek to keep development and implementation costs to a minimum and deliver a service that can demonstrate greater value for money than ContactPoint. We will continue to draw on the views, experience and expertise of frontline staff and managers to assess the feasibility and affordability of such an approach.

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