Installing CCTV carries with it the implication that employees are not to be trusted. That inherently damages the employer-employee relationship and may result in less trustworthy employees. It is easy to assume CCTV will assist service user safety, but it might prove counterproductive as your good staff leave to work in environments where they will feel trusted. Abuse (where it occurs) is not likely to be within sight of open cameras.
CCTV can provide re-assurance
Those in favour of CCTV will point to the all pervasive nature of cameras in the street, in retailers, in and around government buildings. It is patently acceptable there. Why not in care homes where the most vulnerable reside? CCTV can provide re-assurance for Service Users and their relatives, protect homes from intrusion and assist whistleblowers who may not then need to testify in person.
Any home installing CCTV needs to notify the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and be quite clear about the purpose(s) of the facility. These purposes need to be notified to the ICO and to those whose images will be captured. A full policy is required – see MR07 CCTV Policy and Procedure on the QCS website. Do not rely on the salesman who sold you the system!
Remember to address questions of privacy (particularly of Service Users).
Finally, covert recording is a separate issue and can only be justified in limited specific instances to obtain corroborative evidence. In other circumstances it is likely to be unlawful.
Poor care (let alone abuse) is not going to be easy to capture in public areas. CCTV is not a substitute for good selection of staff, proper training and clear supervision.
Malcom Martin and Anita Manfredi of Employer Solutions – QCS HR Expert Contributors