Sheila Struthers writes in the Scottish Review:
Getting It Right For Every Child (Girfec) and its English equivalent Every Child Matters (ECM) are constantly presented as having been developed as a result of the Laming report (published on 28 January 2003) on the death of Victoria Climbié or, in Scotland, the Herbison report (released to the public by the Highland child protection committee on 7 March 2006) on the death of Danielle Reid. This cannot be: the line we have been spun is a great big whopping lie.
‘Privacy and data-sharing: the way forward for public services’, a performance and innovation report dated 2002, was published by the Blair UK government and set out (among other intended reforms) changes to children’s services which the public and professionals were led to believe were being instigated as a result of the Laming or Herbison reports. ‘For Scotland’s Children – Better integrated children’s services’, which clearly sets the foundations for Girfec, was published in 2001. In turn, all these policies are part of the European e-government agenda which emerged from Lisbon in 2000.
Girfec is only a small part of a much wider system of gathering, recording, sharing and evaluating information about citizens and communities. eCare is a very important part of this. The purpose of the eCare framework is to enable information about citizens to be shared across agency boundaries – a complete view of the citizen.
Every citizen has a unique eCare identifier, or as one EU study puts it:
“In the absence of identity cards a form of information ‘link’ across the services is provided by the CHI (Community Health Index21) Number. 90% of residents (soon to be 100%) have the number, allocated within two days of birth, which is their date of birth plus a four-digit identifier. The CHI number functions as a ‘pseudo-identity’ mechanism, and at present the automated matching of records is successful in about 67% of operations, with manual matching then taking place and any data corrections being fed back into the respective databases. Thus the CHI number provides an incrementally improving mechanism to link records across the domains of social inclusion.”
The previous articles mentioned were published in the Scottish Review on 5th, 6th & 7th October: