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| 2 minutes read

CCTV and the provision of care - the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman gives its view

Those receiving care and support and their families sometimes choose to install video and audio recording equipment that captures the provision of services by care providers. Whether the equipment is installed in a care home or in a person’s own home, the issues the installation of such equipment gives rise to are complex.

A recent decision of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) provides a helpful steer to care providers when considering the installation/use of video and audio recording equipment. Without necessarily going into details of the background, the care provider in question cancelled its care contract with the person supported, Mrs Y. That person’s niece, Mrs X, argued that the care provider cancelled after cameras were installed in Mrs Y's home for safety reasons. The care provider says it had no prior notification of the installation of cameras.

The LGSCO said the following in its decision:

“In respect of the cameras installed in Mrs Y’s home, Private dwellings are not covered by the Data Protection Act, which means that the guidance produced by the Information Commissioner’s Office on the use of CCTV does not extend to private households. The contract made no reference to the matter of CCTV and Mrs X was not provided with separate code of practice, so other than courtesy Mrs X was under no obligation to inform the Care Provider. It is neither fair nor reasonable for a Care Provider to apply a blanket ban on CCTV inside service users’ homes. If it has concerns it should devise its own code of practice where it knows that CCTV or similar devices have been installed (or are planned to be installed), which could record the actions of its staff while carrying out their caring duties. Whilst the Care Provider appears not to have a formal procedure for the use of CCTV, it was not applying a blanket ban on the use of such equipment.”

We would echo the sentiments of the LGSCO. Providers should ensure they have a clear protocol in place for where those supported and their families who want to install video and audio recording equipment and/or when such equipment is found. Such a protocol will assist staff members in dealing with each situation case-by-case based on the specific factual circumstances, given as the LGSCO said a blanket refusal to accept the equipment is unlikely to be appropriate.

Anthony Collins has a toolkit available to assist care providers in navigating the issues surrounding video and audio recording equipment and to form relevant policies, procedures and protocols as advocated by the LGSCO. If you are interested in this or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Lorna Kenyon-Pain.


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