Guidance for County Council staff
Before you start taking images of people, it is vital that you get their consent to do so. You need to be particularly careful when dealing with children, so you must get consent from the parent, guardian or carer of any child or young person up to the age of 18 (`parental consent'). We suggest you ask for parental consent early in a project's lifetime and plan ahead, in case the printed publication is transferred to our website at a later point.
In exceptional circumstances you may need to make a decision based on the individual case. For example, if a young person has left home but is under the age of 18 years, it may be difficult to obtain parental permission. See also Frequently asked questions, under General.
If two parents disagree over consent for their child to appear in a photographs or in a DVD recording, then you have to treat it as if consent has not been given. Likewise, if the parents give their consent but the child does not, then consent cannot be regarded as given.
You need a person's consent (or parental consent for those under 18) when they are clearly recognisable in an image. A person may be unrecognisable if they have their back to the camera, or they appear out of focus in the foreground of a photograph while the camera zooms in on an object in the background.
You should be especially sensitive in the case of children with special educational needs. You should also exercise caution when dealing with children in care. Consent from the carer, as well as the child or young person may be appropriate. When taking photographs of older people in care homes, you need to satisfy yourself that the person to be photographed has the capacity to make that decision. If not, who can decide on their behalf? you should discuss your intentions with the care home and the person so they understand how the images will be used and the context in which they will be used.
If you need to get consent for children, you should send a consent form to the parents via the head teacher at the child's school. Remember to allow plenty of time for this, so that you get permission before you take the photographs.
Please note that the consent forms that schools have for school literature and websites do not cover literature produced by County Council departments or used on Hantsweb. You must have a separate, signed consent form for your project.
How long does consent last?
We recommend that you destroy images two years after the date on the consent form, in case family circumstances change, unless further consent is agreed. This is particularly important if your publication will have a high profile, eg if it will have a wide circulation or be publicising a conference.
If the images are for a specific project, you may want to state this on the form and agree not to use the photographs for other projects. The member of staff sending out the form must remember to delete whichever options do not apply. See Conditions of use, items 1 and 2, on the back of the consent form. This option is more appropriate for projects with a longer lifespan, eg books and exhibitions.
Can I use existing photographs?
You may have photographs on file. If you are re-using older photographs for which you did have consent but probably only for paper publications, we recommend that you renew this consent if you use the images on a website.
If you never had consent, ie you had the photos before the Act came into force, then you must be extremely careful and apply common sense when using them. For example, never use a picture of an untraceable person on a leaflet about a mental problem or an illness. To help you make a balanced decision when re-using photographs, it may be helpful to consider the following:
for what purpose was the photograph originally taken, eg was it taken for a specific project?
where was the photograph taken, eg was it taken in a public place?
when was it taken, eg is it a picture of a child who could now be an adult?
Your departmental photographic libraries will need to be sufficiently well organised so that you can check consent at a later date if you are re-using the photograph. This will be easier if you keep photographs and signed consent forms together. However, you must be prepared to destroy all photographs once the consent has expired.
Any agreement with a photographer should be in accordance with our corporate guidance on using images of people. This means that the photographer should:
agree to take appropriate measures to prevent unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data, and against accidental loss, destruction of or damage to personal data (including photographs)
comply with the requirements set out in the Data Protection Act 1998
use a secure storage area if storing photographs electronically.
Ensure that all contracts drawn up with photographers include the data protection contract statement. (Please note that this statement is only available to staff using Hantsnet.)
Commissioned photographers should either use our consent forms or have their own system for recording consent in place.
Are there special rules for putting photographs on the web?
If you are putting photographs of children on Hantsweb, especially if they can be clearly identified, you should follow the guidance given for school websites. However, there may be occasions when you have good reason for including an adult's or child's full name with a photograph. For example, you can include the full name of a competition winner if you have their consent, but it is not acceptable to include the full name of a model used in promotional literature.
What about using photos of staff on the internet or intranet?
Departments may from time to time wish to display photographs of staff on Hantsnet. A likely reason for this is for staff recognition purposes. An `image' is personal data and must not be processed for any other purpose than it was originally collected for (see principle 2 of the Data Protection Act 1998).
Photographs taken for security reasons using a digital camera, to enable access to buildings for example, is a legitimate business purpose for processing personal data. Unless the staff member agreed for the image to be further processed by publishing it on the intranet or internet when the photograph was taken, it cannot be used for this or any other purpose without their consent.
Individuals may wish to give consent for their image to appear on Hantsnet. Others may feel more comfortable with access restricted to their department only. A choice could be offered about the disclosure of their personal data and their wishes should be respected.
Using images of staff on Hantsweb requires `explicit consent.' Individuals must be made aware of the risk to security when images are transmitted on the world wide web to countries without adequate levels of protection for processing personal data, outside the European Economic Area. The best evidence of explicit consent for publication on the web is a signature on a consent form.
This guidance follows the standards set in the Draft code of practice `The use of personal data in employee/employer relationships' published by the Information Commissioner's Office, featuring the eight principles of the Data Protection Act 1998.
We recommend that you limit the use of staff photographs to two years so that they do not become out of date.
Can I use photographs from an agency?
If you get photographs from an agency, you should ask the agency to guarantee that permission has been granted. Wherever possible, however, you should use photographs that portray Hampshire people on Hampshire sites. You should also tell the agency how you will be using the photographs because there are different charges for different situations. Ultimately, however, it is your responsibility to ensure that the agency got permission from the people in the photographs, so you might want to get this in writing from the agency.
What else should I think about?
It is important to be especially sensitive about the juxtaposition of photographs and text because of possible implications. For example, when an article talks about dementia or other ill-health problems. You may wish to include a caption stating "image posed by models", or include some other caption to make it clear the person appearing in the photograph is not the person referred to in the accompanying text.
Is a third party hosting the event?
Where an event is hosted by a third party, it is up to the third party to obtain consent from people to be included in any images. For example, if an organisation wants to take photographs at a country park, it will be the organisation's responsibility to obtain consent.
What about equalities issues?
Remember to include images of people from different ethnic communities in your communications whenever possible and to use positive images of disabled people. This will ensure that your photographs are inclusive of the whole community and comply with the Disability Discrimination Act.
Are the `models' wearing appropriate dress?
Exercise caution at all times to ensure that only images of children in suitable dress are used, to reduce the risk of the images being used inappropriately. For example, avoid using full-length photographs of children in swimming costumes; instead taking the shot from the shoulders up. The Institute of Sport and Management (ISRM) issued stringent guidelines on photographing sports events in January 2003. They suggest either a complete ban on the use of cameras, DVD recorders and mobile phones at leisure centres, or use only with permission, in which case a written procedure should be in place. Further details can be found on the ISRM website.
Will my event be attended by the press?
From time to time, you may invite the press to take photographs or film footage of a visiting dignitary or other high profile event. These images may appear in local or national newspapers, or on televised news programmes. You are responsible for making sure staff and customers know why images are being taken, where and how they will be published, and to obtain any required consent.
Remember that when a press image has been captured the data controller for that image is the media organisation concerned and not the Council. Therefore any objections will need to be made to that organisation and not to the Council.
What about copyright?
You will also need to be aware of copyright implications with any photographs that you may use from elsewhere. Guidance on copyright issues and ensuring that you do not break the rules is also available.
Before any adults or young people up to the age of 18 can appear in your DVD, you must get the correct permission, ie parental consent for those under 18. You can do this in the same way as for photographs, using the relevant consent form. Similarly, you must get the permission of anyone in your DVD who is not part of a crowd and is easily recognisable.
The regulations for using webcams are similar to those for CCTV (closed-circuit television). This means that the area in which you are using the webcam must be well signposted and people must know that the webcam is there before they enter that area. In effect, this means you are getting their consent. However, as with photographs, you must tell the person:
why the webcam is there
what you will use the images for, and
who might want to look at the pictures.
When used at a country park, for example, if the cameras are sited at a height to capture images of the landscape and are unable or unlikely to pick up individuals as part of the processing, you will probably not need to have warning notices over the large area this is likely to cover. However, it would be a good idea to have notices at all park entrances (vehicle and pedestrian) and at any information centres explaining the use of webcams and where they are positioned.
Please note: these cameras must not be used to carry out directed surveillance on an individual or a specific group of individuals. When cameras are used for general monitoring for security or educational purposes there are no problems, other than ensuring the public can see the warning signs.
To avoid any problems in the future, you must get a signed consent form before taking any images. For children, you send the consent form to the parents through the head teacher of the child's school. Once you have the signed form, you should keep it on file.
The form must make it clear that you may use the images on a website, as well as in printed publications. For example, our consent forms ask:
may we use your photograph/your child's photograph in promotional publications produced by Hampshire County Council?
may we use your photograph/your child's photograph on our website?
It is important to make it clear that websites can be seen throughout the world and not just in the United Kingdom where UK law applies.
There are five consent forms for County Council staff, relating to different situations. You will find the conditions of use for the photographs on the back of all forms.