Photographing children & young people – advice for practitioners & volunteers
Agencies frequently use photographs of children, young people and adults in printed publications and on websites to publicise services or celebrate special events.
The majority of occasions when people take photographs of children and young people are valid and do not provide any cause for concern.
Unfortunately there are occasions when this is not the case and these are some of the risks associated with photographing children:
- the collection and passing on of images which may be misused;
- the identification of individual children to facilitate abuse;
- the identification of children in vulnerable circumstances.
There are six main points to address:
- consent and permission;
- reason and purpose;
- appropriateness of images;
- identification of subjects;
- photography for public display;
- use of mobile phones.
The MSB has adopted the GMSP Procedures for Photographing Children and Young People which can be found online at greatermanchesterscb.proceduresonline.com
Photographers working within schools should comply with the policy set out by the school, and use their consent forms.
Permission to use a photograph often only applies for a limited time so they may need to be disposed of, or renewed permission sought after that time has expired. Services may also have their own policy on using photographs – if in doubt, check.
Looked After Children
Where the intention is that photographs are to be stored and or published, parental consent is essential for all Looked After Children including those accommodated under Section 20. All requests for images to be taken or recorded of Looked After Children should be referred to the Social Worker responsible for the child in question.
The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidance in relation to taking photos in schools states that:
- the Data Protection Act is unlikely to apply in most cases where photographs or videos are taken in schools and other educational institutions
- if photos are taken for personal use they are not covered by the Act
- photos taken for official school use may be covered by the Act, so pupils and students should be advised why they are being taken.
For more information visit their website at ico.org.uk
A fact-sheet ‘Using photographs of children for publication’ can be found on their website at www.nspcc.org.uk/factsheet-using-photographs-children
The Child Protection in Sport Unit
Useful information for sporting bodies and events can be found on the CPSU websiteat thecpsu.org.uk
UK Safer Internet Centre
Information about online safety policies, safe use of technology and more can be found on their website at www.saferinternet.org.uk
South West Grid for Learning Trust
A not for profit charitable trust which provides a wide range of products and solutions designed specifically for the education sector has a host of information on its website at swgfl.org.uk
Good examples for the VCS community
The Scout Association
Simple guidelines for recording photography, video and audio at Scout activities and events can be found on their website at members.scouts.org.uk/photography-video-and-audio-recording-at-scout-events
Guidelines for photography in church groups can be found on their website at www.baptist.org.uk/Photography
Press photography and other media filming
Children/young people should not be photographed or filmed by the media, or approached to be photographed or filmed at the premises, or an event, of an agency without the express permission of the agency concerned. This may be more difficult to control if the media are responding to a news story. In such circumstances agencies should immediately contact their press office(r) for advice and guidance.
Any agency suspecting a person of taking unauthorised photographs, or undertaking unauthorised filming, of children should immediately contact the Police. If any agency intends to invite the media for publicity purposes, the agency should inform the press of their policies before they arrive.
It is worth noting that it is not illegal to take photographs at a public event even if asked not to do so, but if an event is private then the organiser can insist that their own policy is followed.
The media will often wish to name a child/young person in any photograph or film clip. Additionally, they may also wish to include other personal information, for example a child/young person’s age, etc. Therefore it is essential that the agency make parents/carers aware of this and give them an opportunity to object to their child/young person being included in media photos or filming. Any child/young person who an agency knows should not be photographed must be kept away from the cameras.
As far as possible, agencies should seek to ensure pictures of children/young people in activities should include a wide range of types of children/young people as possible, and not show them in breach of rules, or behaving in a reckless or dangerous fashion.