Parents and carers understandably love to record those precious moments of their child’s life either through taking a photograph or using a camcorder. Similarly, if you’re running a toddler group, you may want to take photographs for publicity purposes or for your own records.
Since the introduction of the Data Protection Act (DPA) in 1998, you need to be careful if you want to take photographs or film footage of people. This does not mean that photographs should not be taken or that filming is prohibited, but there are certain protocols that must be followed to comply with data protection legislation as well as safeguard children.
In 2005 the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) dispelled the myth that the law prevents taking photographs in situations such as toddler groups. Photographs taken purely for personal use are exempt from the Data Protection Act.
Where the DPA does apply, for example, when images are used for publicity on a website or in the media, the ICO says that “If the photographer obtains permission from the parent or individual to take a photograph, this will usually be enough to ensure compliance.”
It is perfectly acceptable to ask parents to let you know if they do NOT want their child photographed or filmed. Write to the parents or guardians to explain why the image(s) or film is being taken, what it will be used for and who might want to look at the pictures, and leave the onus on them to contact you if they have any objections. You could include this question on your group’s registration form.
CCPAS, an independent Christian child care charity, advises:
Deputy CEO, CCPAS