Barnardo's strengthens access control for database of children


Barnardo's strengthens access control for database of children

Warwick Ashford

UK children's charity Barnardo's has upgraded the identity management capability of its IT systems to link directly to ContactPoint, the government's planned database of all children in England.

Barnardo's will be one of the first non-government organisations to federate employees digital identities to the database designed to improve communication between children's support services.

ContactPoint is part of the government's Every Child Matters programme set up in response to the public inquiry into death of eight-year-old Victoria Climbié in London in November 2000.

The inquiry recommended in 2003 that the government investigate the feasibility of a database to provide the contact details of practitioners or services involved with any child. A lack of co-ordination between services within several local authorities largely blamed for the failure to prevent the death of Victoria Climbié as a result of abuse by her guardians.

Bob Darby, information services director of Barnardo's, said the organisation supports anything that will help communicate with 150 local authorities to "connect the dots" to improve services to children. "If a straightforward, obvious, sensible IT system gets us there, we are absolutely for it. We don't want another case like Victoria Climbié and we have proved it works in trials," he said.

The government said ContactPoint will provide a quick way for practitioners across education, health, social care and youth offending to find out who else is working with the same child.

Privacy groups have raised concerns about the children's database after several public data leaks, but the government has said it will contain only basic information and no case details.

The government has also set strict security requirements for access to the system, including a full audit trail, two-factor authentication, and secure exchange of authentication and authorisation data.

To meet these requirements and to enable access to ContactPoint through its own case management system, Barnardo's is to implement Oracle's Identity and Access Management (IAM) software.

Darby said it would have been impractical for the internal identity management team to take on the extra responsibility of access to ContactPoint for more than 3,000 practitioners in 400 services.

"The Oracle software will automate the whole process as well as provide standards-based tools for integration with our own ERP system and other external third party systems in future," he said.

Darby said the software will help position Barnardo's for the likely trend of increased multi-agency work requiring integration with other IT systems.

The implementation of the Oracle IAM software at Barnardo's is expected to go-live at the same time as the ContactPoint early adopter programme towards the end of 2008.

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