The £224 million database that will hold the names, ages and addresses of everyone under 18 years old in England, has been delayed by a further three months due to system problems.
The Capgemini-built database, which had been pushed back to October following a security review, has been delayed until January.
Kevin Brennan, children’s minister, said "some issues" with the system had been identified during internal tests, and more evaluation was needed to ensure the technology was "right". He said “rigorous testing” was being conducted, which would culminate in users trialling the system.
The news comes days after reports stated that the database, which will also hold information on children’s parents, GPs, schools and support services such as social workers, will be used by police to prosecute offenders. But the reports were described by the Department for Children, Schools and Families as “scaremongering”.
There have been concerns that security risks to the database could result in paedophiles gaining access to children’s details. These worries have been worsened by recent news that the government lost a total of four million people’s personal data in the last year alone.
Maria Miller, Conservative shadow families minister, questioned the timing of the announcement. "There were clear indications in February of significant security concerns with this database. Only now, with just weeks to go until the project is supposed to go live, [the government has] finally agreed to pull back to try to iron out some of the problems.”
“Ministers now need to come clean and confirm whether this delay is because children's personal information is at risk."
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