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Entries in data protection (1)


Guidance on recording meetings with professionals

Useful guidance on the ins and outs of recording meetings with social workers and other professionals has been published by the Transparency Project.

Although their research has been carried out in England most of the principles that they cover such as the Data Protection Act still apply in Scotland.  They outline some of the "pros" and "cons" of family members recording meetings with professionals, either with or without permission. 

The Data Protection act 1998 doesn't prevent individuals from making a tape recording of a meeting for personal reference, but there may be a breach if recording are published or distributed.  Anyone wishing to make use of a recording or transcript in court proceedings will have to obtain permission from that court.

Some bodies such as CAFCASS  seem open to the use of recordings, stating in their guidance: "We should have nothing to fear from covert recording. Our attitude should be, 'I am doing my job and I have nothing to hide. I can explain why I said what I said or why I did what I did'. This is within the spirit of transparency in the family courts. We should always be transparent in our work, to meet contemporary expectations, including being able to defend whatever we say or write in a court under cross-examination, because we are working to a professional standard on behalf of a child. In this sense, we should expect that everything we say or write could become public knowledge."

Some Scottish local authorities allow recording whereas others will raise objections if a parent asks to record a meeting.

Discussion of recording contact issues, particularly handovers is given in a recent article in Family Law Week, again from an English prespective.