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back to article Coalition spends £3.75m on ContactPoint

A minister has revealed that the government spent £3.75m over two months on the soon to be scrapped children's database. Conservative education minister Tim Loughton said that because ContactPoint "remains in limited operation", the Department for Education paid £3.75m to cover the costs of operating the database from April to …

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WTF?

How much...?

That's something like 10p a record. Perhaps they are paying some temps to back it up onto 3.5" floppies each month.

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Anonymous Coward

HOW?!

How can running a database for 3 months cost £3.75m?

Well I've got a cheap way to get rid of it. Tell me where the server is and I'll unplug for free.

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FAIL

Incredible...

Meanwhile they've asked Devon county council to lose £3.8 million off their budget resulting in the start of a 90-day consultation period to make 100+ people redundant. (And I'm sure other countys are in the same boat too)

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Happy

How much

I've got a quad CPU (16-core) server with 60tb of storage standing unused at the moment, bung me a million and I'll maintain the database for the next 6 months. After that the server has some other work to do, but if they need an extension another million will buy me a new (gold plated) server...

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meh.

I know they are different governments, but said it before and I'll say it again.

£50,000.00M bank bailout.

£00,003.75M database.

MEH!

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WTF?

£1.25m /month

Do Crapita charge by the *record*?

Because what "maintenance" tasks require *that* kind of money over that timescale?

New hardware. What for? It's due to be shut down

Further software development. Well I thought it's core functions were *already* developed. What would this be for. It's due to be shut down

Governments have either *no* experts in contract negotiation or do not *use* those they have and the con-tractor has taken them for a ride.

Yet again.

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Anonymous Coward

how government operates

Government cancels database, gets blamed by media for the next high-profile tragedy, someone may have to resign.

Government waits for next such tragedy, blames database for not working & diverting funds, scraps database (and funds).

The alternative - government scraps database & tells media to get over themselves - is regarded as unthinkable.

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coalition has statutory responsibilities until decommisioning

john crapita are not involved in this project, which is some small grace :)

remember each local authority employs between 2-6 to manage their partition of contactpoint. The government had to release Q1 payment to pay peoples wages- did you think 11 million records maintain themselves? plus supporting around 800 proffesionals who use the system on a day to day basis.

there is no development taking place just a need to meet statutory obligations in the interim (dpa + safeguarding)

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@Common

Yes my first thought was indeed WTF, £1.25m/month

Thank you for reminding the database covers *ALL* UK children which is about 2 *orders* of magnitude larger than I was mentally picturing. Thumbs up for the reminder.

However I find it *very* hard to believe they have achieved *full* population of the database. The management (and I'm damm sure it's outsourced, my memory was Capita but I'm sure it'll be one of the usual suspects, or a gang of them) should have factored in this one off initial loading as part of their set up project. I'd thought one of the point of a *centralised* database was the economies of scale handling everything in 1 data centre.

As for on-going maintenance it would seem councils could start saving money *now* by *not* entering any more data on this.

BTW what point was it going to be the responsibility of *actual* social workers, teachers and doctors to update these records and not some bulk data entry task handed over to some 18 YO on work experience?

Thinking on CP again (such an unfortunate acronym, so easily mistaken for other things in this area) the phrase from the DPA about "Proportionate to need" and "Not excessive" come to mind.

I'd love to know *who* proposed the shift from children at *risk* to *every* child. The con-tractors say "Well it's only a *little* more expensive to put them all on," civil servants with "it would be really handy (for us) if you could," of the relevant Labor minister with "We must start to get a clean feed into the NIR."

Part of me can *just* about justify a narrow function, limited data, limited access, central repository for this information.

In reality it looks like trusting *all* parties to leave it at *that* was like giving a junkie the keys to a pharmacy and *hoping* nothing bad will happen.

The cheapest, most *accurate* database is the one that is *never* built in the first place. All governments collect a hell of a lot of data *multiple* times. They should learn to make *much* better use of it (and I don't believe that means ID cards), *provided* the process of *correcting* an error in the process is as quick and effective as the initial sharing.

Thumbs down to this expensive, grossly over scoped and (I suspect) very insecure fiasco.

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Happy

@common

"I like your asterisks they are very pretty"

Do you really think so. How flattering. However in recognition that they may have put your eyes off reading the text I'll leave them out for this post.

Try reading para 3 again, ignoring the asterisks.

Actually most of my post was a series of comments and questions. My comments about 18 Y.O.'s on work experience is simply my experience of who normally gets ordered to do such work.

Yes the procedure you outline seems very thorough (and quite expensive).

If they are adhered to.

If someone takes responsibility (IE they are paid to do so) for the work.

As I said, the cheapest way to "administer" a database which is going to be dumped is not to keep feeding it.

"in the meantime there are statutory responsibilities,"

Local authorities have many such. It's my experience they have a substantial lattitude on exactly which ones they pursue more or less vigorously.

" get a life."

I think there should have been a full stop there. You appear to be taking this personally. I recall a comment from the book "Peopleware," roughly "When you view an attack or criticism of a project you're involved with as a personal attack on you perhaps you should think about why you feel that way and recognize your drives have been aligned to the projects goals by your manager."

Don't take it personally. I strongly doubt the outfit that pitched and sold it never did. It was just another way to suck a big bag of cash off an IT illiterate government on its last legs.

Now I'm off to enjoy that life you suggested I get.

TTFN.

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