Surveillance Guidelines in Care Homes

Posted 11:16 16 January 2015

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Surveillance guidelines – Welcome back to our blog, this week we are providing a brief summary of the last 6 guidelines issued by the Care Quality Commission in respect of the use of CCTV and covert surveillance camera systems by the providers of care facilities.

What Are The Covert Surveillance Guidelines?

Remember that this is just a brief summary and the full guidelines can be found on the Care Quality Commission website.

  1. As we mentioned last time, there must be a consultation before the care facility can implement the use of CCTV or covert surveillance camera systems. The vulnerable adult, or their legal representative, must provide consent if the cameras are to be placed in their private room. In order to give informed consent, they must be told how the data will be collected/stored, who will have access to the information and they must be made aware of anything that may affect them. This is such as unauthorised people seeing and possibly hearing the recorded data.
  2. The care provider should take all possible and reasonable steps to maintain the dignity of the vulnerable adult. This ranges from turning the CCTV or covert surveillance camera systems off at certain times of day or making sure the position of the camera does not allow it to see the intimate care provided (for example when the vulnerable adult is getting dressed or washed) to using sensors that do not record images, to see how often the vulnerable adult is attended by carers. The care facility should bear in mind the numerous codes of practice and Acts of Parliament concerning the use of CCTV and covert surveillance guidelines for camera systems.
  3. The equipment must be fit for purpose. For example, the CCTV or covert surveillance camera that is positioned to catch a thief must be of a high enough resolution so that you can actually see the perpetrators face and identify them.
  4. In rare cases CCTV may be used to monitor the movements of a vulnerable adult to ensure they do not leave the premises. This is subject to approval from the Local Authority or the Court of Protection.
  5. As with all personal data there must be adequate procedures and records in place to ensure that only authorised people can review the data collected on the CCTV or covert surveillance camera systems.
  6. If a vulnerable adult or their representative place a camera in their space without the care providers knowledge, the care providers can turn it off, but if they damage the equipment or fail to return the equipment, then they may be committing a crime.

It is a complicated set of surveillance guidelines that touch on several pieces of legislation. Here at Alpha 1 Legal Services you can be sure that we work within the current guidelines issued by The Information Commissioner’s Office’s CCTV Code of Practice, the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice on the positioning and use of CCTV cameras, the Data Protection Act 1998, the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and of course the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.
surveillance guidelines