Government database to ID every child

But Tories claim it is 'ID cards by the backdoor'...
Written by Dan Ilett, Contributor

But Tories claim it is 'ID cards by the backdoor'...

The government is to spend £224m on a database to record the details of every child in the UK.

The database, which will cost £41m per year to operate, would enable social services and doctors to share information about children's health, education and addresses.

Children's minister Beverley Hughes is pushing the project for the Department for Education and Skills (DfES).

In a statement, she said: "All too often children who need additional help are faced with services which are not joined up. We need to ensure that professionals work together across service boundaries for the benefit of children.

"Parents and young people will be able to ask to see their data and make amendments. In financial terms the benefits of reducing the time currently used unproductively by practitioners trying to contact each other could equate to around £88m per year."

The project, due to go live in 2008, was recommended in a report by Lord Laming after eight-year-old Victoria Climbié was killed by her great-aunt.

The government emphasized that tight security would be enforced to prevent the likes of paedophiles accessing the list of children.

Lord Laming added: "The case of Victoria Climbié illustrated the importance of more effective information sharing. I wish this system, and all it offers, had been available at the time I was working at the frontline."

But opposition has come from the Conservative Party. Shadow health and children's minister Tim Loughton said the move was an attempt to introduce ID cards for children.

He said: "The government's nanny-state approach will do nothing to safeguard the children most at risk. We should be concentrating on the most vulnerable children who are on child protection registers, in care or in homes with a record of domestic violence. "We opposed this clause when it was proposed in the Children's Act 2004. It is bureaucratic nonsense and ID cards for children by the back door."

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