The Department for Education and Science has announced how much money it is budgetting for to create the controversial centralised database on all 12 million or so Children in England and Wales (and on all their parents or guardians as well), under section 12 of the Children Act 2004.
1. Section 12 of the Children Act 2004 gives the Secretary of State the power to make regulations to require the establishment and operation of IS Index. Regulations and guidance will set out the detail of how the index will operate.
There are widespread fears about this massive Centralised Database, which, amonst other things will destroy the confidentiality of professional medical, social worker or legal advisors to Children:
(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.
There is, as yet, no sign of any of the proposed safeguards which the
disgraced ex-Home Office Minister Beverly Hughes and her predecessors have promised.
2. One-off implementation costs will be £224m over the next 3 years – centrally funded. It also includes the cost of ensuring the original data supplied to the index is accurate, that there are robust systems in place to ensure security, and that staff are trained to use the index properly.
3. Operating costs, thereafter, will be £41m per year. Most of these costs will fund the additional staff needed to ensure the on-going security, accuracy and audit of the index.
4. In 2006 there will be further development and building of the technical solution and data trials to test the accuracy of existing data sources. Testing and piloting of the index will start in 2007 with roll-out completed during 2008.
These figures for a database of 12 million or so children contrast with the much higher figures which the Home Office estimates for its controversial National Identity Register i.e. £484 million a year during the set up phase, with a supposed anual running cost of £85 million a year thereafter, for 40 milion plus adults in the UK..
The DfES plan seems to be to take only a couple of years to check the data for 12 million or so Children, i.e. 6 million a year, whilst the Home Office is thinking of only registering 4 or 5 million people a year.
Surely the level of "biographical footprint" checking of Birth Certificates, Home Addresses etc. will have to be virtually identical for both projects ?
Since there are only around 620,000 births a year in the UK, spending about £66 for each new Child on the database every year seems to be very expensive (ignoring emigration and immigration of children)
We think that the DfES figures are likely to be underestimates, for the same reasons that the Home Office Identity Cards Programme figures are, compared with the much higher London School of Economics Identity Project report ones i.e. including the integration and infrastructure costs for the end user departments or organisations, not just the cost of the (on its own useless) centralised database itself.
Where is the Business Case and the Project Risk Register for this DfES IT project ? Will the Office for Government Commerce Gateway Reviews of this project also be kept secret from the public ?