I missed this Guardian article in the Christmas run-up, but it's definitely worth going back to since Terri Dowty from Action for the Rights of Children was hitting where it hurts here with regard to the Children's Database.
After giving the proposed costs a healthily sceptical auditing, she concludes:
"The government has been forced to recognise that the excessive proposals suggested by Every Child Matters are unacceptable. Thus, the children's index will not hold case records or flags of concern and it will not be readily accessible to most professionals. It will not necessarily prevent child protection disasters or save money. So what exactly will it do? As things stand, it seems likely to become an expensive telephone directory, and a poor substitute for adequate social care staffing and direct communication with families".