Coffee House

Do you trust your council with your child’s personal details?

12 November 2012

12:30 PM

12 November 2012

12:30 PM

This morning The Sunday Times revealed the existence of a ‘secret database’ holding information on 8 million schoolchildren. Information which has been uploaded by schools and social workers, and ranging from photographs to academic records and records of bad behaviour in school.

The database – named ‘One’, and created and operated by a company
named Capita – allows schools to upload information daily, which
councils can then share with ‘other agencies’, such as youth offending teams,
NHS staff and charities.

If you think this all sounds a bit déjà-vu-ish, then you’d be right.  Labour’s ContactPoint database – created in 2005 as a reaction to the Victoria Climbié case in an attempt to improve child protection and cost £224 million to set up – was run along very similar lines. The database was intended to store the details of 11 million children, but was shelved in 2010 by the coalition due to security issues. So what makes us think that this database is any more secure?


Perhaps more worrying than the fact that this database exists is the fact that parents are unaware of its existence, and unable to find out how the system works. Capita argue that the reason for this was because local authorities managed the data, adding that schools and councils take data protection rules ‘very seriously’.

Unfortunately the facts don’t support this statement. In July Islington Council managed to publish information concerning 2,500 residents online,  while the Scottish Borders Council were fined £250,000 in September after employees’  pension records were dumped in a supermarket bin. Charities, Police forces and the NHS don’t have a much better record, as a brief trawl through the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website will show.

The ICO have said they will examine the legality of the database, but whether or not it complies with data protection laws, its existence highlights the level of government intrusion into personal information.  Is it right that school photographs of a pupil, and his or her home address, is information which can seemingly be purchased by almost any number of ‘officials’? Or that a child who behaves badly in school – perhaps only once or twice – could then have that information kept on record indefinitely? Just remember – Big Brother is indeed watching you.



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Show comments
  • ishmael2009

    Your papers . . . they are not in order . . .

  • Junior

    The thing is called “one” for god sakes….friggin’ “one”!! That is beyond vreepy.

  • ponerology

    You can trust them, just like you can trust a paedophile.

  • Sheila Struthers

    Capita One is doing the same job as other similar products all over the country (and the rest of the world too) – building a “single view of the citizen” – stick that into Google..:

    Just a couple of examples close to home:

    How far they’ve got with all this varies across the country. “Legal” or not, it is happening.

    It is also completely misleading to talk about school children (or children at all for that matter) and to focus on education.

    The data rape begins pre-birth (in those areas it it doesn’t happen now, it will soon) and is to be life-long and all inclusive – across all agencies and services.

  • In2minds

    You cannot trust this government with this sort of data

    • Sheila Struthers

      You cannot trust ANY government with this sort of data.

  • don logan

    No, but at the end of the day it will be a massive waste of money and won’t work anyway.

  • 2trueblue


  • itdoesntaddup

    Johny’s record in the Komsomol was submitted to the Party…

  • eeore

    And the low energy light bulbs can upload private data from computers by Morse code.

  • dalai guevara

    Data protection has long been an issue discussed but not enforced – what is it with rogue PPI phone calls, freaky facebook policies and sold-off NHS data for research purposes? The same Ariadne thread runs through all these non-connected issues.

  • Colonel Mustard

    This is what happens when you let a creepy proto-communist organisation like Common Purpose infest the public sector with Group Think East German approaches to running things.

  • Swiss Bob

    In the event, eight men were charged and seven convicted. The longest sentence was meted out to Peter Howarth, jailed for 10 years in July 1994 for indecently assaulting seven boys between 1974 and 1984 at Bryn Estyn, where he was deputy head. He died in prison in 1997. John Allen, head of the Bryn Alyn home, was jailed for six years in February 1995 for six indecent assaults on boys in his care.

    Apparently most abuse takes place in the (care)homes by teachers and social workers so giving these people access to children’s intimate details seems bizarre to say the least.

  • terence patrick hewett

    I would not trust them with my dogs details.