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Education department criticised over child database

There’s strong criticism of the Department of Education and Children in a Tynwald report due to go before the court later this month.

The Social Affairs Policy Review Committee report into a centralised database for school children on the Island says the department still hasn’t handed over requested documents – eight months after they were first asked for.

The documents relate to legal advice given to the department by the Attorney General’s chambers, which the department claims is subject to legal privilege.

But the committee’s first suggestion to Tynwald is that the eight-month delay in providing the document is “completely unacceptable”.

In its report, the committee, chaired by East Douglas MHK Brenda Cannell, says the department’s chief executive wouldn’t hand over the information because of legal privilege.

But the committee points out the department could have waived the privilege to cooperate with the investigation, yet chose not to do so.

In its other findings, the committee says the proposed database covering every pupil on the Island should be halted while new laws are introduced – and the department should consult with politicians, parents and teachers before pressing ahead.

The report will be laid before Tynwald when it sits a week on Tuesday.

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