Department for Education
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Contactpoint to start national rollout

Faster and better contact between children’s services professionals across England will now become a reality as ContactPoint starts to be rolled out nationally to local authorities and frontline practitioners, Children’s Secretary Ed Balls and Children’s Minister Delyth Morgan confirmed today.

An evaluation report of the initial phase of the ContactPoint rollout, Lessons Learned from the Early Adopter Phase, also published today, shows how ContactPoint is making a positive difference daily to the practitioners already using it.

It highlights that early feedback from practitioners is good, with over 75 per cent saying they believe ContactPoint will be helpful in their future work. In one area a deputy principal has already been able to locate eight students missing from education for over a year using ContactPoint.

Ed Balls said:

“It is excellent news that frontline practitioners from all over England can start to use ContactPoint to quickly and easily see who else is working with a child.

“No system can alone guarantee that all children will be safe, but we know from the support we have had from across the children’s workforce that ContactPoint is the right system to make a real difference for professionals and the children in their care.”

ContactPoint is an online directory holding basic contact information for all children and their parents as well as contact details for any professional working with that particular child. It was developed in response to a key recommendation of the Laming Inquiry into the tragic death of Victoria Climbié and has been designed to help frontline practitioners work across organisations, arming authorised professionals with a quick and easy tool to find out who else is working with the same child as early and as quickly as possible.

The early adopter phase started in January 2009 in 18 local authorities in the North West with it rolling out to a limited number of practitioners in those areas from May 2009. Two national voluntary sector partners – Barnardo’s and Kids – also took part in the pilot. The Government expects the rollout of ContactPoint to practitioners, including doctors, nurses, social workers, and police, to continue over the next two years.

Delyth Morgan said:

“Today’s report shows clearly the positive ways that ContactPoint is already helping practitioners in their day to day work to intervene earlier and prevent problems escalating. ContactPoint does what it was designed to do and early users have given positive feedback on its usefulness. Overall we estimate when fully rolled out, ContactPoint will save at least five million practitioner hours a year.

“I am delighted that ContactPoint is starting to be rolled out across England, helping professionals ensure that no child slips through the net.”

ContactPoint is being implemented in a steady and staged way. It is now available for local authorities and national partners across England to train frontline practitioners, including doctors, nurses, social workers, the police and voluntary sector workers, if ContactPoint can help them in their work with children.

The speed at which practitioner use builds up over time will be agreed jointly with local authorities and national partners. The Government expects practitioner use of ContactPoint to grow steadily over the next two years.

Martin Narey, Chief Executive of Barnardo’s, said:

“Barnardo’s has been supportive of ContactPoint from the outset because we believe that this initiative has the potential to provide a quick and easy way for professionals to find out who else is working with a child, making it easier for us to spot more children of particular vulnerability. The testing of the scheme in the North West, of which Barnardo’s has been a part, has been encouraging and I welcome the announcement that the system will now be rolled out across England”

Kevin Williams, Chief Executive, Kids, said:

“Kids – the disabled children’s charity - welcomes this important milestone in realising the benefits of ContactPoint. As an early adopter KIDS has supported ContactPoint from the beginning as we believe that the benefits to children receiving a range of services, such as disabled children will be substantial. We are delighted that we are now in a position to move ahead with making ContactPoint more available to practitioners.

Ravi Jayaram, Consultant Paediatrician, Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said:

“ContactPoint is a very easy tool to use. It allowed me to rapidly access relevant information about a child in who there was suspected non-accidental injury. This information was invaluable in guiding further management and the whole process took less than five minutes whereas previously a lot of time would have been spent making phone calls and trying to track people down for information.”

ContactPoint is backed by major children’s organisations, such as the NSPCC, Barnardo’s and Action for Children, teachers’ unions like NASUWT as well as the Association of Chief Police Officers, The British Association of Social Workers and the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Editor's Notes
This press notice relates to 'England'

1. ContactPoint, Lessons Learned from the Early Adopter Phase can be found at http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/ecm/contactpoint

2. It is a simple online tool which contains:
• minimal identifying information for each child in England: name, address, date of birth, gender, and contact details for parents or carers. Each child will also have a unique identifying number;
• contact details for the child’s educational setting and GP practice and for other practitioners or services working with the child; and
• an indication as to whether a service or practitioner holds an assessment under the Common Assessment Framework, or whether they are a lead professional for that child.

3. ContactPoint has a significant set of security measures and controls in place which are continually assessed. It meets Government standards for information assurance and is compliant with the international standard for Information Security Management System (ISMS) (ISO/IEC 27001).

4. The 18 Early Adopter Local Authorities in the North West are:

Blackburn
Blackpool
Bolton
Bury
Cheshire East
Cheshire West with Chester
Cumbria
Halton
Knowsley
Liverpool
Manchester
Rochdale
Salford
Sefton
St Helens
Stockport
Warrington
Wigan

2 national partners:
Barnardo’s
KIDS

 

Contact Details
Public Enquiries 0870 000 2288, info@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk

 

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