We’re still here, but still a bit too busy to post just at the moment.
The ‘Contactpoint’ regulations will be put before the Lords this Wednesday, and the Commons Delegated Legislation Committee next Monday. It really is quite extraordinary that the explanatory memorandum came out during the Blair/Brown handover, the draft regulations just after the car bombs and now the parliamentary scrutiny is just before recess, when some MPs and Peers will already be heading off on holiday. It doesn’t exactly inspire us to optimism about any new dawn of spin-free politics.
the Lords’ Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee has reported on the regulations. Their summary:
We are in no doubt about the importance of these Regulations. They set out the details of the “ContactPoint” database which will hold basic identifying information on all 11 million children in England under the age of 18, and which will be accessible to over 300,000 users. The Government have shown a thoroughgoing commitment to preparing for the national operation of the scheme, through large-scale expenditure and wide-ranging engagement with all interested parties. However, the Government have not in our view conclusively demonstrated that a universal database is a proportionate response to the problem being addressed. While the Government have taken the need for security seriously, the scale and importance of the scheme increase the risk that any accidental or inadvertent breach of security, or any deliberate misuse of the data, would be likely to bring the whole scheme into disrepute.
Our submission (one of many to various select committees that have kept us burning the midnight oil) can be seen here.