Brief report (6) More questions about child database

It is encouraging to note that Mr Speaker, Steve Rodan, is following through in his questioning of child care services in Tynwald next week:

The Hon. Member for Garff (Mr Speaker) to ask the Minister for Education and Children –
In respect of the £267,500 cost of setting up the centralised pupil data system (as advised to Tynwald in December 2011 Written Answer) what the breakdown of the cost is expressed as:
(a) fees to consultants for setting up the database;
(b) purchase of computer hardware;
(c) purchase of computer software;
(d) all other costs; and
(e) future projected costs?
16. The Hon. Member for Garff (Mr Speaker) to ask the Minister for Education and Children –
In respect of the £44,000 annual running cost of the centralised pupil data system (as advised to Tynwald in December 2011 Written Answer), what the breakdown of the cost is expressed as:
(a) salary to staff members;
(b) consultancy fees;
(c) maintenance fees;
(d) all other costs; and
(e) future projected costs?
17. The Hon. Member for Garff (Mr Speaker) to ask the Minister for Education and Children –
In respect of the Department’s centralised pupil data system:
(a) what automated triggers are intended to enable early intervention; and
(b) which, if any, of these triggers are linked to safeguarding?

The fait accompli announced at the end of the last term of government with a request – if not a demand, if services had already been provided – for half a million pounds to cover the “New Working Practices”,  (Requested by whom? You? Me? ) is simply not acceptable. Presumably, with practices and staff already in place the funding had to be nodded through. Thankfully, Mr Rodan is now taking a closer look at what appears to have been a very undemocratic undertaking.

The breakdown of costs will surely be of interest to us all. Of even more interest has to be the question of how this situation arose. We were reassured that the database had been shelved  – only to find broken promises had resulted in a secret introduction, without the knowledge of the public.

What was the process that resulted in the introduction of these measures? Who persisted in continuing the course of action, despite objections? Or who decided to re-introduce the topic? What is the procedure with regard to the introduction of working practices? Could it be that it was suggested by an advisor? You know, the sort of advisor to whom Mr Earnshaw referred questions in the Committee on the Criminal Justice Bill, when he was unable to answer particular details.

Don’t you agree that we need to know more about advisors? Who really makes decisions?

PS The questions in the coming Tynwald session would have made interesting reading in this week’s local newspaper. Did you find any reference to it amongst all the petty crime reporting?


2 comments on “Brief report (6) More questions about child database

  1. Well done for your great piece of real journalism, this is a real issue of some real importance.

    When the local mainstream media’s idea of a front page is Juan Watterson puked up on a bus……..perhaps it is time to put our effort into our own media.

    So what is the children’s database really? I do hope that Steve Rodan gets the support he deserves from the rest of Tynwald. If Rodan cannot get anywere then we have to question whether one of our best politicians getting nowhere means our democratic system is fundamentally flawed or not.

    David Crowe did not any answers when he questioned the seemingly excessive and reckless use of pava spray in the “restraining” of Aaron Knott and Brian O’Hanlon last year. AFAIK no satisfacory answers have been given and our glorious boys in blue have just kept quiet.

    Do not we the public have the right to know what is going on?

    Children’s social services have never been audited in the isle of man, to the best of my knowledge. and certainly the results have never been published….why. Are the murders of Samantha Barton and George Green not enough to properly investigate how children in care and reassure the public?

    Is the unauthorised database really about something other than protecting children? Is it really some sort of secret police database whereby a secretive sinister group of supernazis decide who can have a family and who cannot? Is this a front for a Stasi style file on every citizen? If you get uppity then they go through your file looking for something to trump up against you, Stasi style?

    So good for Steve Rodan and good for you reporting on this. We do need answers.

  2. That is the astonishing part of all this – the media. Were these particular questions reported on Manx Radio or in the press? I have been unable to find any record of this. This is of mega importance – wake up out there – your government decided to spy on you without your request or permission, again, and the media don’t even want to tell us about the probing questions that one member of our government is asking. Yes, indeed. Thank goodness that Steve Rodan is pursuing this. My only hope is that the matter will be probed far enough to discover who instigated this and why and that steps will be taken to ensure that this sort of thing does not occur again in the future.

    If you follow the mainstream local media you could be forgiven for thinking that apart from the odd case of domestic violence and petty theft that there is nothing else to report. There is no end of political news which receives only selective coverage. However, while members of the public continue to shrug their shoulders and accept that there are shadowy figures who control things and that we are powerless things will not change.

    The answer is simple – question, question, question. And of course get the word out and please pass on the URL of this blog. We lack objective media. is your media outlet for the stories that don’t see the light of day in the local press. Please, please send us your stories. We need media for those who can think for themselves – we don’t need a Pravda clone.

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