Adopted: March 2018 by P&C Committee
To be reviewed: March 2020
The application of the Data Protection Act is currently changing (May 2018) and this guidance has been created to help schools with the use of images. The guidance is not exhaustive and has been kept as concise as possible in order to offer the clearest possible advice on use of images.
Images of Adults (16+)
Images taken in public areas where the subject is of the scene as a whole and not of anyone in particular, e.g. a street scene, does not require the consent of the individuals that appear in the scene, unless the individual(s) is/are prominent in some unusual way (e.g. people captured during an accident).
Images taken indoors or on private property should have the consent of both the owners of the property and anyone identifiable in the image. Consent from people in the image does not have to be in writing. The photographer or videographer should indicate clearly that they are about to record an image and offer anyone who doesn’t want to be included a chance to move off shot.
This applies to small groups or individuals where the people in the image are the subject(s) or are clearly identifiable.
Consent should always be sought, unless the subject is a celebrity. Prior to recording the image, the subject(s) should be told what the image would be used for. Whether a written consent is needed depends on the nature of the image and its intended use. The more the image is to be publicised, the stronger the case for a written consent. If in doubt, obtain a written consent.
If the consent is verbal, a note must be made as soon as possible that a verbal consent was obtained.
If the image is to be used for more than one use or publication, a written consent must be obtained, including contact details for the subject(s) of the image, so that you can contact them for further consents, if necessary.
Images of Children (under 16s)
When taking images of children, you will need consider all the above points raised about adults. Furthermore, children must always be considered a vulnerable group, requiring other special considerations;
Common sense guidance published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) aims to dispel the myth that data protection prevents parents from taking photographs of their child and friends at the annual school nativity play.
Photographs taken purely for personal use are exempt from the Data Protection Act (DPA). This means:
• Parents, friends and family members can take photographs of their child and friends participating in school activities for the family album and can film events at school
Assistant Commissioner, Jane Durkin, said:
“I am delighted to be publishing our good practice notes on taking photographs in
schools. It’s a shame that people have been misinformed in the past and prevented from taking photographs of their children. Fear of breaching the provisions of the Data Protection Act should not be wrongly used to stop people taking photographs or videos.“
In the very small number of circumstance where the DPA does apply, if permission is sought by the photographer this will usually be enough to ensure compliance.
Photographs taken by the media are usually exempt from the Act.
The DPA does apply where photographs are taken for official use by schools and
colleges, such as identity passes, and are storing these images with personal details such as names.
Further guidance can be found at www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/data_protection/practical_application/taking_photos_in_schools.pdf
Using and Sharing Images
Images should be treated as sensitive information and, along with all other personal information, must be kept securely and held for limited time and purposes. The use of an image or video should have been explained to the subject when the image was taken.
Using images for anything other than their original purpose is illegal without a new specific, written consent from the subject(s). If you are unable to contact the subject, the image must not be reused. Consent cannot be assumed.
Copyright applies to the images or footage you use that were taken or recorded by other people. The copyright always belongs to the photographer or film-maker unless the have sold or signed away their rights. The person does not have to be a professional to have automatic copyright. Copying material without consent may lead to a lawsuit.
If you hire a professional to take photos or shoot footage for you, then your use of the media depends on the contract that you have with the photographer or film-maker. The contract either allows you to use the image for a particular purpose(s) or period, or you will contract to buy the image/footage outright, in which case the copyright is yours and you should be given the original negative, film or electronic equivalent.
Contracts with professional should always clearly identify rights of use and who retains copyright when an assignment is completed.
Photos or footage taken by staff on behalf of their employer will belong to the employer. However, this is not the necessarily the case if the equipment and media belong to the staff member. Always make such agreements clear.
There are currently three types of CCTV use;
Small CCTV system, limited use
If you have a small system that is designed solely to identify people who commit or attempt to commit crime, your CCTV cameras may not be subject to the Data Protection Act. Three questions should tell you whether you are covered:
If you can answer NO to ALL THREE questions, your cameras are not currently subject to the Data Protection Act. You DO NOT need to provide access to the material, although you should continue to put up signs warning people that CCTV is in use.
If your use of CCTV exceeds this limited definition, there are still some changes. Previously, the Information Commissioner advised that all images recorded by CCTV cameras had to be supplied to individuals on request. Now, only images that focus specifically on an individual, or are used to learn something about them have to be supplied.
Small system, more flexible use
If you have a system that can focus on or follow individuals or you use the footage for internal reasons like staff monitoring, the Data Protection Act applies. For users of smaller systems, the Commissioner has produced a CCTV small user checklist. This explains in simple terms how to ensure that your cameras are complying with the Data Protection Act. This is suitable for small organisations and schools, and is available on the Information Commissioner’s website (www.dpr.gov.uk).
Large System, sophisticated use
Large systems, as operated in town centres and in large premises, are still covered by the Data Protection Act. The Commissioner still needs to be notified that the cameras are in place, and signs still need to be visible to inform people of their existence. Users of large CCTV systems still need to follow the larger CCTV Code of Practice. However, the Code is being updated and will be available soon. Consult the Data Protection Officer for further information.
The use of covert surveillance (hidden cameras) falls under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). An explanation of this act is outside the scope of this guidance, suffice to say that surveillance must never be conducted without a considered authorisation from a senior employee (CEO, Director or Headteacher) and must satisfy the conditions of RIPA.
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