Monday, June 26, 2006

Government to take over parenting

According to a report today the Government is planning the single biggest intrusion into the lives of parents. The plans form the Government's response to the Victoria Climbie's case. During that case there was a fundamental failure by the bureaucracy to realise a young girl was being abused.

The Labour government's solution to this is yet another expensive IT system which it claims will be online in two years at a cost of just over 200m. Applying the rule of IT projects that anyone in the industry knows that really means 6 years and at least 600m. The truly worrying thing though is not that the Government is taking on another IT project, but more the information it plans to store and how it will act on it.

The database will contain information on every aspect of a child's life down to whether they eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. There will be interlinks between agencies and if a child receives two flagged incidents an investigation will be triggered.

Seriously, at what point are we going to change the name of this country to Airstrip One? What gives the state the right to coerce me into bringing up my child in line with its view of what is right? How dare they inspect the minutae of my life?


Anonymous said...

Tempting though it is to decry government IT projects, in this case you're simply being silly. Victoria Climbie was failed by the system because none of the agencies who were aware of her spoke to one another. The government is quite rightly determined that this must never happen again and so the professionals are being forced to share information about vulnerable children and to concentrate on achieving the best possible outcome for the child - hence the need for the IT system, which is just one aspect of the many changes coming about through the Every Child Matters agenda - and which taken together represents the best hope yet for the many children living with violent parents or carers. Parents and children living in normal happy family situations won't be bothered in the slightest by this development - there are far too many other children living in situations where intervention is needed for the authorities to interfere with the likes of you or me.

dizzy said...

There is nothing silly about decrying government IT projects when they've been so spectaularly shit. They're consistently over budget, not to spec, and are rarely stable. The idea that a system can be architected, and more importantly deployed on the scale being claimed in just two years is nonsense as well.

As to the system itself, it is, if EDS or CapGemini can actually build it before the General Election, will work on trigger basis to highlight where invetsigations should be started. A happy family with an accident prone active child that ends up in casualty too many times in a short period will find themselves at the end of an invetsigation where the default assumption will tend to be one of guilt.