This chapter applies to the use of mobile phones, photographic and recording equipment (including phones with camera and recording facilities) that are either company owned or are employees personal property.

Equipment that can capture physical images and voice recordings must be used wisely in order to:

  • protect the rights of adults who use the service, their family, friends as well as colleagues;
  • ensure people’s right to privacy;
  • protect confidentiality;
  • protect people from abuse; and
  • ensure professional standards of conduct.

Photographs, videos or voice recordings of adults who use the service, or their friends or relatives, are not permitted to be taken without the prior written consent of the individual and their family or representative.

Consent by the adult must be given in the presence of at least two members of staff and in conjunction with any funding authority.

Adults who lack mental capacity cannot consent to have photos or recordings made (see Mental Capacity). Where managers or staff would like to capture such images or recordings of adults who lack capacity, for example as a record of service trips or outings, prior written consent should be sought by the adult’s family or advocate. Any decision to do so must be made in the adult’s best interests and approved by their attorney or court appointed deputy. In the event that there is no appointed attorney or deputy and the photos or recordings result in a deprivation of liberty and or a considerable infringement of their private life, authority to do so must be sought from the Court of Protection.

If, in the course of their work, a member of staff sees an adult – or child – who they think may have physical injuries or signs of abuse or neglect, they should seek advice from their manager or designated safeguarding manager before taking photographs for evidential purposes on a mobile phone or tablet. They should make a record of the guidance given to them by their manager. This is to avoid unnecessary allegations being levelled at a member of staff, where actions could be misinterpreted. If the advice is not to take photographs, they should mark the site of the injuries on a body map, make a written record and refer their concerns in the usual way (see Safeguarding Adults from Abuse or Neglect and Safeguarding Children from Abuse or Neglect).

Personal mobile phones should not be carried by employees while on duty. Personal mobile phones are only permitted when conducting activities outside of the service, for example for community care workers, and which forms part of a risk assessment.

While on duty personal mobile phones should be switched to silent mode, unless it is required as above.

Messages and / or making calls on personal mobile phones should take place in breaks only and care should be taken not to disturb or distract colleagues or service users.

Should employees need to be contacted at work they should ensure that people have their work contact number.