Monitoring and Surveillance

REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS

Children’s Homes (England) Regulations 2015 - Regulation 24, Monitoring and Surveillance

This procedure was added to the manual in September 2019.


Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Use of Bedroom Door Alarms
  3. Use of Visual and Listening Devices
  4. Use of CCTV
  5. Promoting the Welfare of Children/Young People
  6. How Children will be Informed of the use of Door Alarms, Visual and Listening Devices and CCTV
  7. How Legitimate Privacy of Children will be Protected
  8. How Children/Young People will be Protected from Potential Abuse of Such Measures
  9. Further Information


1. Introduction

This policy describes how the use of CCTV and other monitoring equipment may be used to support the well-being of children and young people living in our homes.

To ensure the safety of the child / young person, other children who reside with them, staff and the local community it may be appropriate to use monitoring systems to support safety and care. The use of any monitoring or surveillance systems can only be used for the purpose of safeguarding and promoting the welfare of the child or other children living in the home. Monitoring systems which may be used include; CCTV, door alarms, visual and listening devices.

The Placing Authority must consent in writing to the use of any monitoring or surveillance of the child / young person whilst living in the home.

In Kirklees, children and young people are treated as individuals with individual needs. We recognise that each young person will have differing levels of need; to ensure we can respond to these needs individually tailored Care Plans are in place and these reflect the strategies and key controls required to safeguard the child or young person and support them to manage their behaviour in a variety of different settings and circumstances.

These plans will include the level of supervision required when spending time with peers in the home, the level of staff supervision required whilst in the home and the staffing ratio required to support the child in the community – this will be dependent on the assessed need at the time.

Care Plans must be balanced and reflective of the child’s views, wishes, and incorporate the level of risk at the time of writing. Plans must be kept under regular review to ensure they continue to meet the child’s needs. Information relating to monitoring and surveillance is recorded on the child’s Individual Risk Management Plan, which is reviewed regularly where possible within a multi-agency setting to adapt to personal development, age and understanding. If a child or young person requires supervision both within the home and community, staff will supervise and monitor that child as described within their plans.


2. Use of Bedroom Door Alarms

Door alarms are fitted on some doors; these can monitor exit and entry from a room or building. Bedroom door alarms are also in place to be used outside of normal waking hours with the use of a silent alarm that is triggered when a door is opened. This will alert staff as to whether the child or young person has left their room or someone has entered the room.

Door alarms are linked to a system in the staff office area and are used to notify staff of a child or young person's exit/entry from an external door or bedroom. A low level buzzer will sound in the office or through a pager dependent on which device is been activated. The staff member is then in a position to decide whether a young person requires assistance in line with their individual plans.

The use of bedroom door alarms is not to be viewed simply as a monitoring system or to be used as a behaviour management tool, but is to be deemed an additional support mechanism for the children/young people overnight, should they require it. The use of alarms on the external doors is to provide additional security for the Home, and will highlight to staff when someone is exiting the home as well as alert them to any unauthorised entry.

Bedroom door alarms are not to be set until the child/young person has settled to bed for the night. Door alarms are only to be set with the consent of the child’s social worker or person with Parental Responsibility and where it is in line with the individual Care Plan or individual Risk Assessment in place. All staff are to be aware of the risk assessments for each child/young person.

All staff are trained and aware of how to operate the door alarms. All staff are to be aware of the risk assessment in place regarding the use of door alarms.

Should the door alarm be activated, staff should respond in line with the Care Plan and take the appropriate action in response to the door alarms being activated. This could include talking and reassuring an unsettled child or supporting a child who has had a nightmare.

Once the child/young person has settled back into the bedroom, then the alarm should be re-set. Staff should ensure the child/young person has returned to their own bedroom before re-setting the alarms.

Door alarms should always be responded to as quickly as possible so that the child/young person can be reassured and guided as appropriate.


3. Use of Visual and Listening Devices

Visual and listening systems are used where a risk related to health or emotional well-being has been identified. These devices will only be set with the consent of the child’s social worker or person with Parental Responsibility and where it is in line with the individual Risk Assessment in place. All staff are to be aware of the risk assessments for each child/young person.

Staff will be aware of why the device is necessary and how this promotes the child/young person’s health and well-being.

Visual and listening devices can be set during the day or night if a risk or concern has been identified and the child young person are in their room.


4. Use of CCTV

Some homes have surveillance cameras which monitor the entrances/exits of the building. Images are monitored for the purpose of security ensuring the safety of young people, staff and the general public.

We highly value privacy and dignity in our residential homes, and any CCTV surveillance through electronic methods is only used for the perimeter of the building where staff may need to view any threats without having to physically approach an intruder.

The home’s Statement of Purpose will outline how the CCTV will be used and children and young people will have signed consent forms addressing issues of surveillance which will outline clearly how any images and footage will be used.

Any home using CCTV systems must follow the policy and code of practice and be clearly stated within the homes Statement of Purpose.


5. Promoting the Welfare of Children/Young People

Any use of monitoring or surveillance in our homes will only be used when deemed necessary to further safeguard the young people by enabling appropriate levels of supervision to minimise the risks of bullying or harm. It will only be used to support and improve children and young people’s safety and reduce any restrictions that may otherwise be necessary. The visual and listening devices are in place to minimise and further safeguard young people’s health and well-being, they should be deemed necessary, proportionate and beneficial to the improving a child’s safety and emotional wellbeing.


6. How Children will be Informed of the use of Door Alarms, Visual and Listening Devices and CCTV

The use of any monitoring or surveillance systems is recorded in the Children’s Welcome Guide for the home. Children and young people will be informed on arrival at the home about these systems and alarms. Should there be opportunity to discuss the use of any monitoring or surveillance prior to a child or young person’s stay in the home i.e. pre admission planning visits etc. children and young people will be informed then. The use of door alarms, visual and listening devices is recorded in the Statement of Purpose which the social worker and any significant others will receive a copy of prior to placement.


7. How Legitimate Privacy of Children will be Protected

Children and young people will be informed of how the home are going to use any monitoring systems and devices to promote their safety and security.

Door alarms will not be used as a behaviour management tool or as a monitoring device. and will only be set once a child/young person has settled to their bedroom for the night. Appropriate levels of support or space will be given dependent on the individual circumstances of the child/young person leaving their bedroom and as outlined within their support plans.

Usual practices in ensuring the legitimate privacy of the child/young person i.e. when using the toilet, bathrooms etc. will be observed.

Visual and listening devices are only used where a child/young person has an identified health care need for example epilepsy, gastro or where an emotional well-being risk has been highlighted and the staff supporting need to be able to see or listen to the young person to support their safety and care. The visual and listening devices will enable staff to support a child/young person’s health and well-being without having to be in the room with them, thereby promoting dignity and privacy. Where a child young person has epilepsy and the visual and listening device is necessary, staff can respond as necessary to the identified risk or concern without having to interrupt sleep.


8. How Children/Young People will be Protected from Potential Abuse of Such Measures

The use of door alarms within the home will be monitored and will be used in line with individual Risk Assessments. Staff are to ensure they discuss and agree who is responsible for setting/re-setting the alarms at night.

Any use of door alarms will be as an additional measure of support for the child/young person and not as a behaviour management tool or monitoring device. The purpose of the door alarms will not be to punish or supervise the child/young person, but to ensure appropriate levels of support and guidance are available overnight, or as additional security to highlight to staff if external doors to the Home are opened.

The use of visual and listening devices in the home will be monitored and will only be used in line with individual risk assessments. Health/CAMHS professionals will support decision making in relation to the use of these devices.

The Registered Manager is responsible for monitoring the use of CCTV, door alarms, visual and listening devices within the home and any issues or concerns should be addressed.


9. Further Information

Surveillance Camera Code of Practice (Home Office)