Using cameras or other recording equipment to check somebody’s care

Installing
a hidden camera or other recording equipment in a care home or other
care service is a big decision. It can affect people’s privacy and
dignity. And it can have legal consequences as well.

It could help set your mind at ease about the care your loved one
receives or even help identify poor care or abuse. It could also intrude
on other people’s privacy so there are some important things to
consider first.

Try to raise your concerns first

If you are worried about somebody’s care, you should first raise
these concerns with the provider of the service. The provider should
investigate your concerns.

You can also raise concerns with us or (if the care is funded by
them) your local council. We will always listen to what you say. You do
not need to send us camera or sound recordings.

Find out more about raising a concern or making a complaint about a care service.

Consider the legal risk

Staff at the care service or people visiting your loved one may be
uncomfortable being recorded. They may feel it breaches their rights and
could take legal action.

The Information Commissioner could also investigate and take enforcement action.

It’s important you consider any legal risks and what you can do to reduce the impact on people’s privacy.

This information is not legal advice. It’s best to get legal advice before you do anything.

Check the provider’s policy

If you tell a care service you are worried enough to be considering
using recording equipment, we would expect them to investigate your
concerns.

Some care services have rules on recording equipment to protect
people’s privacy. Installing equipment without the provider’s knowledge
could break the contract you have with them so it is important to check
first.

If the staff at the care service removes your recording equipment,
they must return it to you and not damage or destroy it. They should not
ever refuse to treat someone or care for them properly because this
kind of technology is being used. If they do, you should report them to
us.

Get permission

You should only use recording equipment with the permission of the
person whose care you are concerned about. It’s important they agree to
the use of the technology. Just because somebody does not object to it
does not mean they agree to it.

When you get their permission, it is a good idea to explain who you
plan to share the recordings with and to write down what you have
agreed.

If they are unable to give permission (for example, if they have
dementia and cannot make these kinds of decisions) it is important that
you feel sure that you are doing the right thing. In other words, acting
in their best interests.

Store the recordings securely

You should make sure you keep the recordings secure. Make sure they
are not tampered with or shared with anyone who does not have a good
reason to see them. For example, if you use a camera that sends images
over the internet, choose a secure system and a strong password. Do not
share the password with anyone.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has some advice on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Last updated: 14 November 2018

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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