Data blunders put Scots children at risk

Jeremy Phillips

Scotland on Sunday reports that vulnerable children have been exposed to a serious risk of violence through failure to implement a safe data system. The children at risk are those taken from their abusive or neglectful birth parents for their own safety and given new homes. On at least 12 occasions in the past year, details including their secret addresses were accidentally passed to the very people from whom they were being protected. The Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration (SCRA) has issued a full apology; officials privately admit they could face a string of legal claims for substantial damages.

The case files of all children at risk are flagged as such in the SCRA’s computer system and have bright red files, to reduce the risk that details could be accidentally released. SCRA officers have since carried out an audit of all cases where children had been placed with foster or adoptive parents at addresses meant to be kept secret from their birth parents. A disciplinary investigation is also underway.

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