The controversial £224m ContactPoint database, containing the personal details of every child in the UK, will be launched today.

The ContactPoint system, built by Capgemini, will see the names, addresses, schools and GPs of all under 18's listed in a database which could only be accessed by child professionals, such as social workers, doctors and the police.

The project has been hit by a string of delays amid concerns over security of the sensitive data it holds, with ministers admitting it needed more "rigorous" testing.

Children's Secretary Ed Balls will today announce the first stages in the roll out of ContactPoint across the country. This includes training for two security-checked officials in each council to start operating the system. The government will also carry out more intensive trials in 17 authorities in the North West and two children's charities. The system will be operational from the summer.

Balls said it was created to enable professionals to share information on young people they suspect is at risk to ensure "no child slips through the net of support services".

The creation of ContactPoint was a key recommendation of the Laming Inquiry following the death of Victoria Climbe in 2000.

Lord Laming said: "ContactPoint will not replace the need for children's services organisations to ensure effective working across teams, across services and agencies, including sharing information where this is appropriate. But, in time, I believe ContactPoint will be an important tool in supporting this practice."

But critics have slammed the system in light of the government's history of data losses, most notably after the HMRC scandal when 25 million personal records went missing.

Liberal Democrats, Children's shadow minister David Laws condemned ContactPoint as "intrusive and expensive".

“The fact that the rollout has already been delayed because of technical issues does not bode well for the future.

“The Government has shown it can’t be trusted with sensitive data. Parents have every right to demand that their children’s personal details are not put at risk.”

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