A Snapshot of Client Queries

We’ve picked two of the most interesting questions we’ve dealt with since our last issue, which may be useful if you ever find yourself in a similar situation at your school.

QUESTION: “Can we please invest in a dashcam for the minibus so we can record all actions in the seated area – we have some of our most vulnerable students there and I am concerned there are some clashes of personality that may lead to a verbal, if not physical exchange and in order to support and protect the staff I wonder if this is a suitable way forward.”

Although it is legal to install this type of surveillance device in a classroom or minibus, there are many areas which must be addressed before this can be done. The guidance below is from the NEU’s guidance on photographic policies and was created in response to the Information Commissioner’s Code of Practice on CCTV Systems. An updated draft version of the code of practice is available here. A. Initial Assessment Procedure 1. Users will need to establish the purpose or purposes for which they intend to use the equipment. 2. Establish who is the person or organisation legally responsible for the proposed scheme and who is responsible for day-to-day compliance. 3. Assess the appropriateness of, and reasons for, using CCTV or similar surveillance equipment (First Data Protection Principle). 4. Document this assessment process and the reasons for the installation of the scheme. 5. Ensure that the notification lodged with the Information Commissioner’s Office covers the purposes for which this equipment is used. 6. Establish and document security and disclosure policies. B. Siting the Cameras 1. The equipment should be sited in such a way that it only monitors those spaces which are intended to be covered by the equipment. 2. Operators must be aware of the purpose(s) for which the scheme has been established. 3. Operators must be aware that they are only able to use the equipment in order to achieve the purpose(s) for which it has been installed. 4. Signs should be placed so that the public is aware they are entering a zone which is covered by surveillance equipment. 5. The size of signs will vary according to circumstances: • For example, signs at the entrances of car parks alerting drivers to the fact that the car park is covered by such equipment will usually need to be large, probably A3 size, as they are likely to be viewed from further away, e.g. by a driver sitting in a car. • For example, a sign on the entrance door to a building society office may only need to be A4 size because it is at eye level of those entering the premises. 6. The signs should contain the following information: a) Identity of the person or organisation responsible for the scheme. b) The purposes of the scheme. c) Details of whom to contact regarding the scheme.

C. Quality of the Images 1. If tapes are used, it should be ensured that they are good quality tapes. 2. The medium on which the images are captured should be cleaned so that the images are not recorded on top of images recorded previously. 3. A maintenance log should be kept. 4. If a camera is damaged, there should be clear procedures for: a) Defining the person responsible for making arrangements for ensuring that the camera is fixed. b) Monitoring the quality of the maintenance work.

D. Processing the Images 1. Images should not be retained for longer than is necessary. 2. Once the retention period has expired, the images should be removed or erased. 3. If the images are retained for evidential purposes, they should be retained in a secure place to which access is controlled. 4. On removing the medium on which the images have been recorded for the use in legal proceedings, the operator should ensure that they have documented: a) The date on which the images were removed from the general system for use in legal proceedings. b) The reason why they were removed from the system. c) Any crime incident number to which the images may be relevant. d) The location of the images. e) The signature of the collecting police officer, where appropriate (see below). 5. All operators and employees with access to images should be aware of the procedure which needs to be followed when accessing the recorded images. 6. All operators should be trained in their responsibilities under this Code of Practice i.e. they should be aware of: a) The user’s security policy e.g. procedures to have access to recorded images. b) The user’s disclosure policy. c) Rights of individuals in relation to their recorded images.

E. Access to and Disclosure of Images to Third Parties All employees should be aware of the restrictions set out in this code of practice in relation to access to, and disclosure of, recorded images. 1. Access to recorded images should be restricted to those staff who need to have access in order to achieve the purpose(s) of using the equipment. 2. All access to the medium on which the images are recorded should be documented. 3. Disclosure of the recorded images to third parties should only be made in limited and prescribed circumstances. 4. All requests for access or for disclosure should be recorded. If access or disclosure is denied, the reason should be documented. 5. If access to or disclosure of the images is allowed, then the following should be documented: a) The date and time at which access was allowed or the date on which disclosure was made. b) The identification of any third party who was allowed access or to whom the disclosure was made. c) The reason for allowing access or disclosure. d) The extent of the information to which access was allowed or which was disclosed.

F. Access by Data Subjects 1. All staff involved in operating the equipment must be able to recognise a request for access to recorded images by data subjects. 2. Data subjects should be provided with a standard subject access request form which: a) Indicates the information required in order to locate the images requested. b) Indicates the information required in order to identify the person making the request. 3. All subject access requests should be dealt with by a manager or designated member of staff. 4. The manager or designated member of staff should locate the images requested. 5. If the manager or designated member of staff decides that a subject access request from an individual is not to be complied with, the following should be documented: a) The identity of the individual making the request. b) The date of the request. c) The reason for refusing to supply the images requested. d) The name and signature of the manager or designated member of staff making the decision. 6. All staff should be aware of individuals’ rights under this section of the Code of Practice.

G. Monitoring Compliance with this Code of Practice 1. The contact point indicated on the sign should be available to members of the public during office hours. Employees staffing that contact point should be aware of the policies and procedures governing the use of this equipment. 2. Enquiries should be provided on request with one or more of the following: a) The leaflet that individuals receive when they make a subject access request as general information. b) A copy of this Code of Practice. c) A subject access request form if required or requested. d) The complaints procedure to be followed if they have concerns about the use of the system. e) The complaints procedure to be followed if they have concerns about non-compliance with the provisions of this Code of Practice:

• A complaints procedure should be clearly documented. • A record of the number and nature of complaints or enquiries received should be maintained together with an outline of the action taken. • A report on those numbers should be collected by the manager or designated member of staff in order to assess public reaction to and opinion of the use of the system.

3. A report on those reviews should be provided to the data controller(s) in order that compliance with legal obligations and provisions of this Code of Practice can be monitored. 4. An internal annual assessment should be undertaken which evaluates the effectiveness of the system. 5. The results of the report should be assessed against the stated purpose of the scheme.

If the scheme is not achieving its purpose, it should be discontinued or modified. The result of those reports should be made publicly available.

QUESTION: “Do prescribed medications for students need to be locked in a metal cabinet attached to a wall? Do non-prescribed medications need to be in a locked cupboard? Does the administration of prescribed medication to students need to be recorded on Classcharts and in a separate record book?”

The current DfE guidance on supporting pupils at school with medical conditions states:

All medicines should be stored safely. Children should know where their medicines are at all times and be able to access them immediately. Where relevant, they should know who holds the key to the storage facility. Medicines and devices such as asthma inhalers, blood glucose testing meters and adrenaline pens should be always readily available to children and not locked away. This is particularly important to consider when outside of school premises, e.g. on school trips. A child who has been prescribed a controlled drug may legally have it in their possession if they are competent to do so, but passing it to another child for use is an offence. Monitoring arrangements may be necessary. Schools should otherwise keep controlled drugs that have been prescribed for a pupil securely stored in a non-portable container and only named staff should have access. Controlled drugs should be easily accessible in an emergency. A record should be kept of any doses used and the amount of the controlled drug held. School staff may administer a controlled drug to the child for whom it has been prescribed. Staff administering medicines should do so in accordance with the prescriber’s instructions. Schools should keep a record of all medicines administered to individual children, stating what, how and how much was administered, when and by whom. Any side effects of the medication to be administered at school should be noted in school. Regarding storage, there is some good advice in the NHS document A Questions and Answers Guide to the Administration of medicines in schools & colleges.

  • All medicines should be stored safely.
  • Non-emergency medications should be stored in a locked cupboard, preferably in a cool place.
  • It is not a legal requirement to store medicines in a locked cupboard as long as they are secured in a safe location known to the child and relevant staff. Possible locations could include a medical room, school office or head teacher’s office.
  • Where it has been agreed that a child is competent to manage and carry their own medicines and relevant devices, they should be kept securely on their person or in a lockable facility.
  • Medications requiring refrigeration should be stored in, an appropriate refrigerator with restricted access in a clearly labelled closed plastic container. The temperature should be monitored daily (2-8oC).
  • Children should know where their medicines are at all times and be able to access them immediately. Where relevant, they should know who holds the key to the storage facility.