SpyBlog reports that contracts have been issued for a database of information on children in Lewisham, partly at least as a pilot for the national record of all kids planned under the Children Bill. Now, this idea came up as a result of the investigation into the Victoria Climbie case, but it's very hard not to see a strong link with ID cards - after all, if you were trying to set up an ID card scheme, wouldn't you want a database of all new people as a start? It would appear that the users of this new system will be able to flag any child's record with a "notification of concern" for a wide variety of reasons - in fact, too many reasons.
Apart from obvious and reasonable ones, like health concern, suicide or self-harm risk, drug abuse, bullying and the like, there are some real shockers. They could apparently start a file on your kids for reasons like these:
"Denies part in/does not believe commits anti-social behaviour" (so - if you are innocent you are obviously a real bastard!)
"Non-constructive spare time/easily bored" (Is there any child who this does not apply to? And isn't it just so New Labour to want to keep a searchable database of anyone found doing "non-constructive" things in their spare time - you know, so they can make you do something more dull.)
"Criminal area of residence" (WHAT? Does this mean any kid in a postcode considered dodgy can be monitored?)
And, to cap the lot, "OTHER".
Personally, this horrifies me - Christ only knows what horrors Bradford Council's files contain about my school life, for a start. Clearly, Martin Sixsmith's novel isn't quite as bad as I assumed (it postulates a near future where the government wants to issue parenting licences).