Thursday, January 26, 2006

Motives for the Database

The issue of the genuine motives behind the creation of the Children's Database has been raised in comments in the post below. Given the curious nature of the whole caboodle, and the frightening increase in power that educrats have appropriated for themselves, this isn't altogether surprising.

I suppose though that it is nigh impossible to second-guess what individual educrats may be thinking with regard to their own motives, and probably just as difficult to ascertain whether there really was a collective conscious or unconscious conspiracy going on in the very highest echelons. Perhaps the ptb were indeed aware that the IT export component was evaluated a significant factor in the equation, but it seems likely that if this was a considered motive, that it was then collectively justified by being regarded merely as a perk in the general thrust of rescuing children from abusive parents. I say this because had the IT export component been the stated sole or principle consideration behind the creation of the database, someone would have broken ranks and blown the whistle, since there are doubtless some of good (if often misguided) intent who would realise that this amounted to a decision to defraud the taxpayer in favour of a private IT company.

It may seem pretty difficult to present arguments against the database, given that it is almost impossible to accurately establish the motives for it, but I don't see that we need despair because either way, arguments in favour of the database don't stack up.

Generally speaking though, it seems it would be a good idea to take the stated arguments of the ptb at face value, - in this case, that the database is intended as a means to identify more children who are at risk of abuse from their parents, since by refuting the stated argument, the ptb then don't have a leg to stand on in public. It is simply necessary to show that the database will be a waste of time and effort and therefore money, and will do very little to help pinpoint children at risk, will not get more social workers onto the front line, and will not prevent abusive situations from occurring. Indeed, as anonymous pointed in the comments section here, government officials have already conceded as much.

On the other hand, to attempt to accuse the ptb of hidden, and more malicious motives, is like as not to forestall the argument altogether, since the ptb will undoubtedly simply flatly deny that the hidden motive was real.

In the unlikely event that it would be necessary to deal with the proposed financial motive, it could be easily dismissed, since if looked at objectively, the sums are highly unlikely to stack up in favour of the UK. We know that the database will cost an enormous amount of public money, that that raising taxation slows the rate of growth, which will eventually reduce the amount coming into the coffers, so even if this was really uppermost in the minds of the creators of the database, this argument for it looks very shaky.

(Oh, completely off the point, did anyone by any chance pick up Ds's swimming trunks and towel today? )


Ron R said...

I've found that many long term bureaucrats tend to develop the bureaucratic look at life, society, etc. Since, bureaucracy is all about an entity safeguarding the decision making process of itself, it's extention into society is the safeguarding the decision making process of society.

In other words, the insisting on the need/value of the database could quite come out of a quite sincere intent (however erroneous).

Julie said...

sorry can't help with swimming trunks!
Took me a while to find this-originally from but couldn't find it there today-but an email to that webmaster there produced this in reply.
contact AECH if you want more info!

Anonymous said...

Sounds interesting, but couldn't find anything other than evidence of an aim to reduce administrative costs for driving licences and so forth. Do you have a link for AECH?


Julie said...
Sorry-link didn'tlook right before.

Julie said...

All I can see at the previous link is an article about potential links between e government and the green paper 'Every Child Matters'

Sorry not doing well with links! as it should have read ARCH not AECH!

Carlotta said...

Great links, Julie, thanks. Will follow these up...

Carlotta said...

I think you have it exactly Ron. Thanks.