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5.16 Digital Photography


The Protection of Children Standard


This Chapter provides procedures for staff on the use of photographic and video images e.g. as part of activities.


This Chapter should be read in conjunction with Correspondence, Communication and Social Networking Procedure.


ACPO Lead Position on Self Taken Images


This chapter was slightly amended in May 2013 to include relevant guidance from ACPO and Section 1, Photography and Videos.


  1. Photography and Videos
  2. Access to Inappropriate Images and Internet Usage

1. Photography and Videos

Working with children and young people may involve the taking or recording of images. Any such work should take place with due regard to the law and the need to safeguard the privacy, dignity, safety and wellbeing of the children and young people.

Informed written consent from the Placing Authority, parents or carers and agreement, where possible, from the child or young person, should always be sought before an image is taken for any purpose.

Children may want to take pictures of themselves and each other; digital imaging equipment is becoming readily available on personal devices and can be highly sophisticated.

It is not realistic to assume that restrictions should be placed upon every child and that an outright ban on photography should be introduced, however a culture of respectful and careful consideration should be promoted as to how activities involving the taking of images are organised and undertaken. Care should be taken to ensure that all parties especially children within the home understand the implications of the image being taken especially if it is to be used for any publicity purposes or published in the media, or on the internet. There also needs to be an agreement before images are used and as to whether the images will be destroyed or retained for further use, where these will be stored and who will have access to them.

Staff need to remain sensitive to any children who appear uncomfortable, for whatever reason, and should recognise the potential for such activities to raise concerns or lead to misunderstandings.

It is not acceptable for staff to take photographs of children for their personal use or using their personal equipment.

This means that staff should:
  • Be clear about the purpose of the activity and about what will happen to the images when the activity is concluded;
  • Be able to justify images of children in their possession;
  • Avoid making images in one to one situations or which show a single child with no surrounding context;
  • Ensure the child/young person understands why the images are being taken and has agreed to the activity and that they are appropriately dressed;
  • Only use equipment provided or authorised by the company;
  • Report any concerns about any inappropriate or intrusive photographs found to their manager always ensure that they have parental permission to take and/or display photographs.

2. Access to Inappropriate Images and Internet Usage

There are no circumstances that will justify staff possessing indecent images of children.

Staff who access and possess links to such websites will be viewed as a significant and potential threat to children. Accessing, making and storing indecent images of children on the internet is illegal. This will lead to criminal investigation and the individual being barred from working with children and young people, if proven.

Staff should not use equipment belonging to their company to access pornography; neither should personal equipment containing these images or links to them be brought into the workplace. This will raise serious concerns about the suitability of the adult to continue to work with children.

Staff should ensure that children and young people are not exposed to any inappropriate images or web links. Home’s Managers and staff need to ensure that internet equipment used by children have the appropriate controls with regards to access e.g. personal passwords should be kept confidential.

Where indecent images of children and other unsuitable material are found in staff possession, they should be confiscated and the Home’s Manager should be notified. The Home’s Manager should then notify the relevant social worker(s) and a decision should be reached about the actions that should follow – which may include consulting, the police and local authority designated officer (LADO) should be immediately informed. Staff should not attempt to investigate the matter or evaluate the material themselves, as this may lead to evidence being contaminated which in itself can lead to a criminal prosecution.

This means that staff should:

  • Ensure that children are not exposed to unsuitable material on the internet;
  • Ensure that any films or material shown to children and young people are age appropriate.

Whilst accessing internet, all or any instances of inappropriate images or material which are not suitable for children and young people must be reported to line manager.