The Department for Education and Skills seems to have been landed with the job of publishing a Consultation on behalf of the NuLabour Nanny State, which seeks to justify the controversial collection and sharing of rumours, suspicions, "soft intelligence" etc. , not just on "Children at Risk" but on all 12 million children in the UK and on their parents or guardians, and which destroys the common law duty of professional advisor/ client confidentiality. Even the Information Commissioner is worried about this scheme.
"CROSS GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE - SHARING INFORMATION ON CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE
This document seeks views on a draft of the first cross-Government guidance on information sharing in respect of children and young people.
The draft of this guidance, which will be non-statutory, has been discussed and agreed as a basis for public consultation, with officials from DfES, Department of Health, Home Office, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Department of Constitutional Affairs. It aims to cover all services including health; education; early years and childcare; social care; youth offending; police; advisory and support services, and leisure. It is for all adults who work with children and young people in the services mentioned above, whether they are employed or volunteers, and working in the public, private or voluntary sectors. It recognises that most decisions to share information require professional judgment, and aims to provide the knowledge and understanding practitioners need to inform their judgement of when and how to share information about a child or young person with whom they are in contact, and covers the main reasons why practitioners may want or need to share information."
"There has been considerable public debate concerning child protection issues stimulated, in particular, by the Laming Enquiry and the Children Act 2004."
There has been debate, and opposition in Parliament to the "Big nanny" datbasese aspects of this legislation, all of which has been ignored by the Government.
Astonishingly, the full Consultation document has a section on the
Common Law of Confidence, which totally ignores the controversial Children Act 2004 sections 12 (which applies to England) and 29 (which applies to Wales) which deal with "Information Databases". e.g.
"(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 numerous example cases in the Consultation document make depressing reading, and do show some of the difficulties faced by the "caring professions", however, it is inexcusable that this Draft Guidance makes no mention of the Computer and Information Technology systems, and the shared databases behind them, which will be the means tthrough which both genuine concerns and warnings about Children At Risk will be shared, and through which confidential data on "normal" children and parents will be abused.
There are also some glimpses of the mindset of those in charge of the Nanny State e.g. "Resistance" to social workers etc., is defined, in several ways, including "by being overly cooperative with practitioners"
There are multiple ways to send in a response to this Consultation, even through their online response form, by Tuesday 15 November 2005, altough, as with all NuLabour Government Consultations, it will be astonishing if they take the slightest notice of public responses.