Brief Report (5) Mr Rodan questions pupil data system and more.

Tynwald questions today were varied. Many centred around the costs of projects etc. and to what extent island companies have been involved in various projects. Mr Hall tabled interesting questions about our reserves and the euro.

However, the most probing questions by far (IMO) are those posed by the Speaker, Mr Rodan:

In respect of the Department’s centralised pupil data system:

(a) what the purpose is of holding records of all school children and their parents on a centralised pupil data system within the Department;

(b) what the current total number of people is on the centralised pupil data system including all pupils, parents and guardians;

(c) what the cost was of setting up this centralised pupil data system;

(d) what the annual running cost of the centralised pupil data system is;

(e) whether a system of role-based access control has been set up within the Department to ensure the centralised pupil data system complies with the Data Protection Act;

(f) if he will consent to allowing the Data Protection Supervisor to audit the processing of data within the centralised pupil data system for good practice; and

(g) if he will publish the details of any internal audit his own Department may have made of the centralised pupil data system

Hmmm. Do you remember the questions raised about this when it was first considered? There were a few PAG meetings on this topic as I recall.  Without a doubt this is an important topic. The last I heard from an MHK was that it had been shelved on cost grounds. So when was the Stazi-style (just my opinion) snooping system instigated?  It appears that the database includes details of all pupils, parents and guardians.

You thought you were permitting the state to educate your child, didn’t you? Did you give permission for your details to be entered on the database? Was the existence of the database made public knowledge? Furthermore, Data Protection laws appear to be quite stringent. Now, I could be wrong but I thought we were only to hold minimal information for the time required and no longer and that it must then be destroyed  and that people must be informed that the information is held. Maybe I’ve got that wrong but if it isn’t the case it should be.

Mr Rodan also asked:

In respect of the Safeguarding Children Board:

(a) what the role of Tri-x Childcare Ltd is;

(b) for what period Tri-x Childcare Ltd is contracted to the Safeguarding Children Board;

(c) how much the contract with Tri-x Childcare Ltd is costing the Isle of Man Government; and

in respect of the consultants employed by the Safeguarding Children Board:

(i) how many consultants are employed by the Safeguarding Children Board and for what purpose;

(ii) what the salaries are of these consultants;

(iii) which of these consultants are based off Island;

(iv) which Government Department employs them; and

(v) when their contracts expire?

Tri-x Childcare Ltd? Does this mean anything to you? What exactly is going on with childcare and data mining in the Isle of Man? Remember how Mr Quayle’s budget was half a million pounds short last year because of new procedures? You don’t suppose that all this could be costing half a million pounds, do you?

Further interesting questions from Mr Cannan:

In respect of the land swap agreement between Heritage Homes and the Department of Education and Children:

(a) Whether the Department of Education and Children complied with the Education Act 2001, section 3 and made an order under Schedule 2 of the Act, in which the relevant public notice is required to be given; and

(b) if not, whether the agreement is legally binding?

We await the answers with interest. 

The answer to one issue in Tynwald today has already been published. The cost of the Steam Packet report:

Mr Quirk says it’s not possible to put an exact price on it at the moment, but the contract for an off-Island consultancy firm was £82,000.

At least some members are starting to ask the right questions. The crucial part is taking appropriate action when the information has been provided.

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