The British government is facing a very embarrassing setback as IT specialists wrestle to fix security vulnerabilities that have grounded a database that is designed to store information on every youth in the country.
The ContactPoint database was setup after the death of Victoria Climbie at a cost of #224 million and contains the name, address, gender, date of birth and a unique ID number for all children and teenager aged under 18 in England, as well as details of their parents, school and doctors' surgery.
Details of more than 11 million children are expected to be stored on it but according to sources, work has temporarily stopped as local authority staff found out that a critical feature that allowed details of vulnerable children to be shielded hasn't been implemented.
The system apparently created a duplicate of the records instead of hiding some details. This issue could be affecting up to 55,000 children and a spokesperson for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has confirmed that no child's records would be uploaded while the problems remains.
Details of this latest failure come after the publication of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust report yesterday which lambasted databases maintained by the British government. The document singled out ContactPoint as being one of the systems identified as being fundamentally flawed and illegal under
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Some say that the problem with Databases in the United Kingdom is systemic. The need for Contactpoint arose from a genuine concern; that of making sure that there is no second Victoria Climbie. Unfortunately, as it is so often the case with the public sector, it seems that there has been a mix up between doing the right things and doing things right.