Using surveillance in your care service

Page last updated: 26 April 2022
Organisations we regulate

Surveillance technology includes CCTV, cameras and microphones. It can help you keep people safe and monitor their care. If you use it, it's important you do it in a way that protects people's privacy and human rights.

When you might think about using surveillance

Surveillance technology can help you:

  • protect people's safety, for example from the risk of unsafe care or treatment
  • keep premises and property secure
  • to help people stay safe without restricting their activities.
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We recommend you get legal advice to help you decide whether to use surveillance.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 sets out the powers public bodies have to use surveillance - and when they can tell or give people permission to use it. For this reason we can't authorise you to carry out 'covert intrusive surveillance'. This means using hidden cameras or other recording equipment in residential areas of your service.

Open and covert surveillance

You're more likely to use surveillance openly (overt surveillance). You will need to tell everyone it affects.You can do this by talking to them before you start using surveillance or by putting up clear notices. In some circumstances, you may need their consent.

Covert surveillance is when you use hidden cameras or microphones people are not aware of. This is only likely to be appropriate in rare circumstances, if you have a pressing reason and only plan to use it for a short time. For example, you might decide to use it to identify a specific incident or allegation.

CQC and the ICO both regulate things that are relevant to surveillance

If you use surveillance to help keep people safe or monitor their wellbeing, we treat it as part of their care. This means it must meet the regulations under the Health and Social Care Act.

But any recordings you make of people also count as information about them. Collecting information about people is regulated by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).

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