Headlines: August 30th, 2007

Directors of Children’s Services have underlined their support for the information sharing system, Contactpoint, following reports of concern among senior social workers that the database could be open to abuse by paedophiles. The Association of Directors said they fully supported the enabling of better information sharing about children, which they see as one of the central aims of the 2004 Children Act.

Contactpoint, which is due to go live in 2008 has been designed as a quick way for social workers and other practitioners to discover who is working with the same child or young person, so it is easier to deliver coordinated support. Its online directory will be available to authorised staff who might need the information to do their jobs.

Earlier this week press reports said senior staff were warning the Government there was a risk the system could be exploited. In a statement John Coughlan, Joint President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services said it remained fully committed in its support of the Government’s work to improve information sharing through the Contactpoint system.

There were, he said, a number of technical and resource challenges which would need to be overcome in the delivery of the system and the Association was working with the Government to help address these.

He added, “We regret that some of our communications with government have been seen in isolation and interpreted to mean that ADCS does not support the principle of information sharing. We do. We believe the core proposals are sound and we are confident that with careful partnership working the aim can be delivered.”