Databases wax and wane

IT confusion?

just a number?just a number?

We have a report from ZDNet informing us that:

The Home Office had hoped biometric enrolment for ID cards would take place in post offices however, a report by the Business and Enterprise Committee found "many or even most identity services may well be too sophisticated to provide across the [post office] network and..................that the ability to identify increasingly sophisticated counterfeits and forgeries has become a specialist skill which Post Office staff, who handle a very wide range of business and general transactions, cannot be expected to have".

This will greatly increase the estimated cost of £5billion for the ID card scheme that the Tories and Lib Dems say they would scrap..

Then there is the Integrated Children's System (ICS) which replaces the 'at risk' register. Local authorities have spent the past four years implementing the Government's £72m ICS scheme amid threats that critical funding would be cut if they did not comply. But the system, described by staff as "an unworkable monster", generated stacks of paperwork 6ins thick for every child, had no way of tracking the siblings of abused children, and absorbed up to 80 per cent of social workers' time. See here.

Baroness Morgan, the children's minister, told councils she was "making it clear that local authorities will not be required to comply with the published specifications for ICS in order to receive capital funding".
She added: "ICT systems which support children's care should be locally owned and implemented within a simplified national framework".

Staff at Kensington and Chelsea council, which had its funding cut for refusing to implement ICS in 2005, said they were being "inundated" with requests from other councils wanting to buy the alternative system they have built. This is the same council that asked parents to request 'shielding' from the ContactPoint database.

So, is this work formally to be done on a 'council-by-council' basis? Will what Kensington and Chelsea council use, now being looked at by other councils, be the ideal solution for ALL councils? It would seem that here is the start of a significant retreat. And, who will build the 'simplified national framework' or is this still ContactPoint?

If the ICS is unworkable then what is the rationale for the ContactPoint database of 11million English children?
The idea was that the ContactPoint was the overarching structure; the Common Assessment Profile which relates to children with extra needs was to be linked to it as would the ICS which replaces the child protection register.

It is all very confusing. In contrast the DNA database is growing apace. See here. An average of 40,000 profiles per month have been added to the National DNA Database since the European Court ruled the retention of samples from innocent people was illegal under human rights laws.

More than 300,000 profiles have been added since the judgment last December. The figures take the total number of profiles stored on the database to about 5.6 million.The Home Office argues that the ruling merely obliges it to place a time limit on retention of innocent profiles, not to stop storing them. The addition of hundreds of thousands more profiles has not improved detection rates.