Bergen municipality has discovered a serious technical failure in the system for reporting concerns to child protection.
The error is not isolated to Bergen municipality, and could potentially apply to 244 Norwegian municipalities.
– This is extremely serious, says the city council leader in Bergen municipality, Rune Bakervik during the press conference at 10 o’clock on Monday.
The error has been in the system since September 2020, according to Visma.
– We are aware of 24 reports of concern that have not reached the children’s welfare in Bergen. I have identified the contents of three of them and followed them up, says Bakervik.
Bergen municipality is now asking the Ministry of Children and Families for a national investigation into the case.
Working on getting an overview
It is the system that delivers alarm messages from the national notification system to the municipalities and the local child protection offices that has failed.
– Certain messages of concern have been deleted. Those who have sent them in have received notification that the notification has been received, but the child protection service has never received the notification of concern, explains city councilor Bakervik.
– This means that we have children in the city that someone wants to report concerns about, but that we have not been notified about, says children’s councilor Line Berggren Jacobsen.
She says she was informed about the situation last Thursday. The error has now been corrected and they are working to get an overview of how many people have been affected.
– Bergen municipality asks everyone who has sent a report of concern during this time period to get in touch, even if they have received a notification that the concern has been registered, she says.
Concern messages are not saved
In order to make it easy to send reports of concern to child protection, KS created a common portal in 2020 to send such reports.
The portal is connected to different systems that the municipalities use. Visma is the supplier of the system.
KS tells NRK that the fault is not in their portal, but in the supplier’s professional system.
– The error is that some reports of concern are not stored in the professional system, says Tristan Rolstad, department director digital community services in KS.
– What is the consequence?
– The consequence is that messages that have been sent are lost. There is no question of data or information going astray, but that the messages are not stored, says Rolstad.
Visma: – May apply to 244 municipalities
Communications worker Lage Bøhren at Visma confirms that it is their system that is at fault.
– There is a professional system called “Familia”, which the children’s welfare service uses in various municipalities. There are 244 municipalities that use that version of the system, he says.
The Norwegian Data Protection Authority confirms to NRK that they have been informed about the case. They received a notice of deviation from Bergen municipality in May, according to communications director Janne Stang Dahl.
– There’s a lot we still don’t know, but when there are 21 missing messages in Bergen alone, this is an extremely serious and big issue, she says.
– Will the Norwegian Data Protection Authority supervise Visma?
– We are following up on the case now, and she has priority with us. I can’t say anything about supervision.
– Could it be a violation of the law?
– It may look like there has been a breach of the Personal Data Act here. We are working on this, and the matter has priority with us.
Children’s Minister Toppe: – The case is very serious
– I think the case is very serious. In particular, I am afraid that the failure may have led to children who need protection and help not having received it, says Minister for Children and Families Kjersti Toppe to NRK.
She expects Visma to take responsibility and tell how municipalities should proceed to find out whether the error also applies to them.
– Those who are concerned about whether a child is receiving good enough care must be able to trust that the system works and that the reports of concern reach the child welfare services. It is the very foundation of our system.
Visma confirms that they have corrected the error and have contacted the relevant municipalities.
Now the family minister is asking Bufdir to come up with a full report on the case.
– I have asked them to initiate the necessary investigations to find out what has happened, the extent of the error, why the failure was not discovered earlier, possible consequences for vulnerable children and what is being done to correct it, she says.
Reports of concern about children
The system with which errors have now been discovered is a digital service for sending messages of concern to child protection.
On the website of the Directorate for Children, Youth and Families (Bufdir) you can send in digital messages about children you are concerned about.
“If you are concerned about whether a child is receiving good enough care, you should send a report of concern to the child welfare services. You don’t have to be sure that something is wrong to report it,” the website says.
“We recommend that you use a digital report of concern for safe registration with the child protection service.”, it continues.
Bufdir: – Takes the situation seriously
Division director Harald Hegerberg in Bufdir wrote in an e-mail to NRK that the directorate is in contact with Visma and is asking for continuous updates on the situation.
– Bufdir takes a serious look at the situation where reports of concern are not forthcoming. It is very important for the children that the message applies, that people can feel confident that it will come forward when they report their concerns, he writes.
According to him, KS has developed the portal for reports of concern on behalf of Bufdir.
Visma first stated that the error could apply to 300 municipalities. They have now corrected the figure to apply to 244 municipalities.
#Bergen #municipality #uncovered #technical #error #portal #reporting #concerns