People using home care services and their families are increasingly using webcams or CCTV for surveillance purposes in the home.

The BBC showed footage on Thursday showing multiple failings in the home care provided by a company to one woman – as ministers warn the next abuse scandal may come in the sector.  The videos, recorded by the family of Muriel Price, 83, showed carers failing to turn up for visits or turning up late, causing Mrs Price great distress.  Mrs Price’s grandson installed two CCTV cameras in her house in Blackpool, Lancashire, to monitor her movements and to provide help should she fall when she was home alone.  The film can be viewed via the BBC website here.

Care minister Norman Lamb hosted a summit with domiciliary care providers and carers on the same day this footage was released, in an attempt to improve standards within the industry.  The potential benefits are obvious – CCTV offers comfort and protection to peolple using services by helping to reassure them and their families that they are safe. It is also a useful tool if a someone is alone for long periods or has a tendency to fall or wander. There is so much surveillance nowadays, it is to be expected in everyday life, and in professional lives too.

UKHCA has produced a factsheet for members “Closed circuit TV and the law” written by solicitors Anthony Collins Solicitors LLP which considers the legal implications of CCTV monitoring in the home, and how it affects the provision of home care.

Home Care Direct have heard many stories over the years where people have been let down by traditional care agencies and services, where staff have turned up to see them late or not at all!  This is why people who use Home Care Direct services choose their own personal assistants and design the rota around their needs.  So they choose who’s coming in and out of their home and when.  Home Care Direct personal assistants will only work with the person who has chosen them, so there is no travelling or rushing around between different houses, no need to drive from one place to another.  We find this way of working means our clients are confident that their personal assistants will turn up to provide their care when they need it.  However we support the rights of individuals to use CCTV in their own home, and also the rights of personal assistants who should be aware they are being filmed.

If you’d like to share your thoughts or experiences with us please get in touch here.