Friday, April 21, 2006

The "Master List"

After a very busy week, there's finally been time to take a proper look at the final report of the Citizen Information Project (see Good news for adults below).

The report recommends that the government can 'Build on the National Identity Register (NIR) being delivered as part of the Identity Cards Scheme' to construct its "master list" of every citizen.

As for the under-16s:

The Department for Education and Skills is developing an Information Sharing Index which, when completed, will have some of the characteristics of a child population register covering England. This appears worth examining further as a possible strategic option to deliver benefits similar to, and fitting alongside, those from the NIR.

The purposes of the Index are defined by the Children Act 2004 and so the Index could not be used for other purposes, possibly including as a child population register, without changing primary legislation. Any use of the Index as a population register would need to be consistent with the assurances given by Ministers that the purpose of the Index is to support front-line professionals in delivering better services, not as a tool of central government

So in plain English: the Children Act 2004 doesn't automatically allow the Children's Index to be used as part of a "master list" of citizens, but if it can be demonstrated that such a use would help deliver services to children, then that will be OK.

In even plainer English: it's a presentation thing.


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