Barnsley Hospital has become the first NHS Trust to achieve the first stage accreditation from the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s Office and will be applying for full certification during 2017.
The Surveillance Camera Code of Practice and its 12 guiding principles were issued by the Secretary of State to ensure that the use of cameras in public places is regulated and they are only used in pursuit of a specific purpose.
The Code is aimed at Local Authorities and Police Services so the Trust voluntarily submitting for assessment is a great step towards displaying openness and transparency of how it uses its 135 cameras. The Surveillance Camera Commissioner stated in a recent presentation that he hopes other NHS Trusts will also apply for certification.
Tony Porter, Surveillance Camera Commissioner, said: “I’m delighted that Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have achieved my step one certification mark – the first NHS Trust to do so. They are not required to comply with the surveillance camera code of practice and have done this voluntarily and are already working towards my step 2 certification mark.
“Millions of people visit hospitals every year and surveillance cameras are used to keep them safe but this must not be at the price of their right to privacy. By complying with the 12 guiding principles in the code and attaining the certification mark Barnsley have demonstrated that they use surveillance cameras effectively, efficiently and transparently.”
The Code aims to balance the need for cameras with individual’s right to privacy and Barnsley Hospital has adopted a rigorous process of surveys, requirements and consultation to ensure this balance is achieved.
Mike Lees, Trust Head of Business Security explained: “The hospital takes the privacy, dignity and rights of our patients and the public very seriously.
“The independent assessment that underpins our certification provides the assurance that we balance how we site and use our cameras is in accordance with the government’s Code of Practice and 12 guiding principles.
“We are delighted to be the first NHS Trust in the country to achieve this status.”
The Trust is in the process of introducing a dedicated website page to inform the public, patients and staff of the location of all its cameras and how they are used. This page will also include a monthly report on the number and circumstances of incidents involving CCTV camera monitoring.
As the hospital is one of few to have security staff that carry body-worn video cameras, their use will also be clearly explained.