The nature of the information
on the database
114. The Government accepts that no "case information"
should be recorded on the databases. We welcome the Government's
amendment of the Bill to make clear that regulations cannot provide
for medical records or other personal records to be included on
We also welcome the Government's acceptance that the database
will operate in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998,
and its amendment of the Bill to provide for guidance to include
advice about existing rights under the Data Protection Act.
However, the information which may be included on the database
about a child goes beyond purely objective facts about a child,
such as their name, address and date of birth. It includes information,
such as contact details of persons providing services including
health services, which may reveal very sensitive information about
a child, such as the fact that a seventeen year old girl has been
referred to family planning services. It also includes "the
existence of any cause for concern" about a child, which
is an extremely subjective and open-ended phrase which is almost
bound to include very sensitive information about a child.
115. We welcome the fact that the Government accepts
that this is a matter which must be dealt with carefully. It has
promised to consult about the extent to which the inclusion of
sensitive information about a child, or its disclosure, should
be subject to the consent of the child or their parents, with
a view to dealing with the matter in regulations.
We look forward to an opportunity to scrutinise a draft of those
regulations. We remind the Government that Article 8 requires
that there be adequate procedural safeguards regulating the disclosure
of sensitive personal information, and these may require participation
by the person who is the subject of the information in decisions
concerning the inclusion and disclosure of certain types of information.
116. We also note that the information recorded will
include the contact details of professionals involved with the
child in the expectation that professionals will contact each
other and share information about the child. In our view there
will be a need for detailed guidance to professionals about the
appropriate limits of information-sharing in order to ensure proper
protection for children's Article 8 rights. We welcome the Government's
acceptance of the need for comprehensive statutory guidance on
information sharing, in response to an amendment proposed by the
Earl of Northesk and supported by Lord Campbell of Alloway, a
member of this Committee.
We trust that the Committee will be fully consulted on the draft
of such guidance, given its important implications for Article
117. We draw these matters to the attention of