Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Well said, Nick

Today in his first major speach as Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said:

"Britain must not be a country where our children grow up so used to their liberty being infringed that they accept it without question. There will be no ContactPoint children's database. Schools will not take children's fingerprints without even asking their parent's consent. This will be a government that is proud when British citizens stand up against illegitimate advances of the state."

So it looks like the surveillance society may be about to take a considerable knock. And that will see the end of some of the very worst aspects of the Every Child Matters agenda - attempting to safeguard children though bureaucratic snooping rather than protecting them through professional intervention.

The other side of the coin is that we must have services which are fit for this new environment. The Government must now work hard to create effective child protection services which do not rely on unproven database technology. And I hope that all the pillars of the children's sector establishment, which embraced ContactPoint and played fast and loose with children and young people's privacy, move on quickly and rapidly embrace the new status quo.

Now we must all grasp the nettle of how best to protect abused and neglected children in what I hope will be a freer and more open society.