This is an area of huge concern, as the Big Nanny state seems to be intent on creating Yet Another National Database on all 11 million children and their parents or guardians and is the subject of our recent Freedom of Information Act request regarding Clauses 12 and 29 on "Information databases":
"11) Regulations under subsection (5) may also provide that anything which may be done under regulations under subsection (6)(c) to (e) or (9) may be done notwithstanding any rule of common law which prohibits or restricts the disclosure of information."
The justification for all this intrusion is to allegedly prevent social services disasters like the torture and murder of Victoria Climbié, but actually it seems to be more of a bureaucratic backside covering or blame shifting exercise. Plenty of people and departments and agencies knew that Victoria was "at risk", but they did not act professionally. How a massive national database mostly full of data about children who are not at risk is going to help prevent such disasters in the future is a mystery. It will lead to many vulnerable children not seeking help from professional advisors, for fear of their confidential details being blabbed to all and sundry.
The appeal from ARCH:
"PLEASE HELP US!
Last year Action on Rights for Children (ARCH) campaigned hard against clauses in the new Children Act which give the Government powers to build a database system to record the details of every child in England and Wales from birth, and require professionals to share confidential information about all children without the consent or knowledge of families.
(if this is news to you, see: http://www.arch-ed.org/chldrnbill.htm )
These database plans were one of the examples that the Information
Commissioner cited when he warned that we are in danger of 'sleepwalking into a surveillance society'. The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights concluded that they were a 'serious interference' with human rights.
Despite the many objections, the Children Act 2004 was passed by just 12 votes and the Government has begun the process of creating the database and information-sharing system.
ARCH believes that the Government's plans may be incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1998 and, following legal advice from Bindmans, intends to challenge the Government through the courts.
In order to do this, ARCH needs to raise money urgently
ARCH has to raise £5,000 during the next few weeks if it is to mount a challenge to the Government's database plans
ARCH is completely unfunded. Membership is free and expenses come out of volunteers' own pockets. Please send us a donation, no matter how small, towards the cost of this legal action.
Without your help we simply cannot go ahead.
If you share our concerns about the Children Act 2004, please send money or a cheque payable to 'Action on Rights for Children' as soon as possible to:
62 Wallwood Road
LONDON E11 1AZ"