Fate of ContactPoint database hangs in the balance

The government is to maintain the child database ContactPoint in limited operation, and has set no date for stopping it.

The government is to maintain the child database ContactPoint in limited operation, and has set no date for stopping it.

In a letter to directors of children's services, the Department of Education said it expects to announce the way forward later in the summer.

It said: "The government has made clear its intention to end ContactPoint as soon as is practicable. In the meantime, while ContactPoint remains in use, its operations will be scaled down.

"Ministers have decided to maintain ContactPoint in limited operation pending firmer decisions on what should come after it."

Local authority funding for maintaining the database is only guaranteed until the end of June. No decision has been made on whether more money will be forthcoming.

When ContactPoint does cease to operate, the system will be revoked centrally, the letter said. "National partners will not need to do anything technically to enable this change."

The removal of data from the database will also be managed centrally, under strictly controlled conditions.

More information on the timings and effects of closing down the system will follow later in the year. The government also said it will look at what can be made of the infrastructure. It said it recognised significant investment has been made in developing the database. It said it will seek to make the most appropriate use of that investment whenever practicable.

At the moment, a feed of birth and death registration data from the general register office will continue. But updates from the Department of Work and Pensions, NHS Connecting for Health and the Department for Education's School Census will stop.

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