The intention is that ContactPoint will be available
in all Local Authority areas by the end of 2008. ContactPoint
will be a basic online directory containing a record for each
child up to the age of 18 in England. With their consent, the
records of young people leaving care or with learning difficulties
can be retained up to the age of 25. The record will contain basic
demographic information about the child, details of the parent/carer(s)
and the name and contact details of practitioners working with
the child. It will not contain case information. The purpose of
ContactPoint is to save time and support early intervention by
allowing authorised practitioners to see who else is working with
the same child.
ContactPoint is being established under section
12 of the Children Act 2004. Draft regulations made under this
section are currently being finalised and are due to be laid before
parliament before the summer recess. These regulations are subject
to affirmative resolution.
ContactPoint will be populated with data from
a range of existing national and local systems. Section 12 and
the draft regulations set out what data is to be held and lists
the persons and bodies who are permitted or required to supply
this data. It is anticipated that these data sources will include
case management systems used by Youth Offending Teams and in the
future the e-Borders system currently being established by the
The purpose of ContactPoint is to support Children's
Services Authorities and their partners in their duties to co-operate
to promote the well-being of children, and to safeguard them and
promote their welfare, as set down in Sections 10 and 11 of the
Children Act 2004 and in the safeguarding duty on school and colleges
in Section 175 of the Education Act 2002. The purpose of ContactPoint
is not to support the fight against crime.
ContactPoint will not be used to profile children
or young people. No support for profiling is being designed into
the system. Through extensive work with practitioners ContactPoint
has been designed to help practitioners to find out who else is
working with the same child or young person, making it easier
to deliver more co-ordinated support.
Access to ContactPoint will be restricted to
authorised staff who need it as part of their work. The regulations
detail the categories of practitioner who are eligible to be granted
access to ContactPoint, these include police officers, members
of youth offending teams and staff at secure training centres.
An individual will only be granted access if it is clear that
they need access to support their work on safeguarding or improving
wellbeing for children. It will not be acceptable for users to
access the system to support enforcement activities. This is made
clear in the draft ContactPoint guidance, currently available
for public consultation (closes 27 July 2007).
Before being granted access, individuals will
also have to attend training and have received an enhanced disclosure
from the Criminal Records Bureau (or equivalent vetting for police).
All users will be authenticated to ContactPoint using strong (2-factor)
authentication techniques in line with the e-Government Unit (eGU)
guidance. Every access will be monitored and audited. Potential
misuse will be subject to investigation and if necessary disciplinary
and criminal proceedings.
There are no plans for data sharing between
ContactPoint and the National Identity Register. The bulk disclosure
of data from ContactPoint will only occur in anonymised or psuedonymised
form. This is to support statistical analysis and for research
The draft regulations provide for the Secretary
of State or a local authority to disclose information from ContactPoint
where this is required by a court order or where this disclosure
is necessary for the prevention or detection of crime of the prosecution
of offenders. These provisions are intended only for limited circumstances
are will be subject to a judgement on a case by case basis. As
stated previously, ContactPoint is not intended to provide a tool
for use in the fight against crime.