CQC asks whether CCTV should be used in care homes

camerasThe Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced plans to install hidden cameras and ‘mystery shoppers’ in care homes in a bid to increase the regulations of social care. Care homes and social care premises are home for some of society’s most vulnerable people. To subject them to covert surveillance where there is not reasonable cause for suspicion would be both an attack on their privacy and dignity.

In a signposting document which has been published today ahead of a full public consultation, Andrea Sutcliffe, Britain’s first Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said: “We would like to have an open conversation with people about the use of mystery shoppers and hidden cameras, and whether they would contribute to promoting a culture of safety and quality, while respecting people’s rights to privacy and dignity.”

It is important to consider the culture of care homes and whether we want them to have the same kind of atmosphere as a prison. It is of course right to investigate specific complaints, but this should not entail the routine, undisclosed surveillance of our loved ones. Any measures should be both necessary and proportionate, a balance that is essential to maintain in such a sensitive environment and where emotions are likely to run high if wrongdoing is alleged.

What must be remembered is that care homes are just that, homes. The vast majority of residents, whilst vulnerable, completely have their wits about them and should be fully consulted before any CCTV cameras are installed, especially if the cameras are to be in their private rooms. Any reforms should be focused on ensuring residents feel safe and comfortable in their home, not increasing stress through unnecessary surveillance.

Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in CCTV, Privacy, Surveillance | 16 Comments


  1. Robin
    15th October 2013

    This proposal is, in my view outrageous. Working in a care home is one of the most demanding and under valued jobs one can do. I have worked in many homes (though not for some years) and other care settings and worked alongside probably hundreds of people. I have probably met two people who I would consider a risk. If cameras were installed there would no doubt be ares where they would not be permitted and it seems obvious that this is where abuse would take place. Better screening, pay and training would do much to prevent abuse in my view and ultimately I’d question the worth of any suggestions of an organisation which, not so long ago made the news because of its own significant failings.

  2. Khalid Malik
    15th October 2013

    I believe it would be an excellent idea, especially to monitor performance of nurses attending, time spent, and punctuality etc. It will also protect the elderly from BOGUS nurses appearing through the technology of Face Capture and TIME IN/OUT etc. The patients privacy would be protected for all times other that the VISITING TIMES and or during an Unusual attendance by someone outside the scheduled slots.

  3. Khalid Malik
    15th October 2013

    It will also place the Care Provider on alert and monitor performance accurately and cost effectively and save local authorities valuable HR to monitor productivity.

  4. P Silburn
    15th October 2013

    This will not work. There are residents who have dementia and at times they are at risks to themselves and others. There is no privacy or dignity watching them in compromising conditions, such as weeing on the floor etc. The head of the care commission has not got a glue. What about the rights of the care staff? Also the mystery shoppers will only bring about a culture of uncertainty and high emotions.

  5. and again
    17th October 2013

    Hidden cameras are the solution to everything these days – at least some would like us to think so. Is it not possible for people to do their job without getting spied upon? Care homes should be able to provide the service being paid for without resorting to putting residents under surveillance which absolutely is not respecting people’s rights to privacy and dignity. The worst thing about all of this is that those in positions of power appear to see surveillance as a first step and not as a last resort if ever.

  6. christine
    16th November 2013

    There has to be some kind of protection for our vulnerable and elderly in our society, but I’m not sure whether camera are the answer.what have the inspectors of these establishments been doing, by not responding to complaints and as there title suggest inspecting on a regular basis. Also it seems to me that when a cleaners can be paid the same amount to be a carer (no disrespect to cleaners).It about time the councils stopped encouraging cheap contracts for the the sake of quality care and care providers should take care of their staff better by providing a decent hourly pay, and petrol allowance for us drivers including quality training so carers feel valued within their role, as most of us do it because we care.

  7. Brian Glenn
    21st November 2013

    I am the manager of four supported housing units,with a mental health specialism.
    I am interested in this discussion as it gives us the opportunity to debate safety , good support delivery and right to privacy.
    We are considering using video badges to record and monitor support delivered to our service users.
    The video badges are the same as the police and traffic wardens use.
    I know privacy is important but,using this will protect individuals by monitoring the support given.

    • John Doe
      26th April 2014

      I work for 10 years in this field and I have a huge experience of working with residents and mostly with dementia. I would like to ask you are you paying enough the carers to do that job and wearing a video badge? I personally not. The job is underpaid and overworked. It’s never a team work and the expectations are high and hard workers are never valued just the bottom kisser is valued. I want to know the magic you can work on the resident in tha last stage of dementia and filming in the same time. I am sure you can do it without to touch them and asking nicely to do it for you.

  8. Paul Mensah
    10th January 2014

    I believe if you have nothing to hide and are a good carer then working under surveillance should not be a problem. Training of staff is a good measure to prevent abuse but not a deterrent! CCTV should be made compulsory in at least all the communal areas in a care setting to prevent abuse of vulnerable adults and children.

    • Julia
      29th January 2016

      I suggest you work under a cctv camera all day !! Care assistants work damn hard 24/7 every day of every year looking after complainers families at Christmas time etc when they cannot be bothered to visit themselves, and we miss out on time with our own families – meetings, training days, nvqs and care certificates all being done unpaid on top of a long working week. There is no recognition, nor any thanks for this extremely undervalued industry. We give the same personal care as a nurse and are paid nothing like, the economical climate entices many women into these roles – and we are certainly far from being uneducated riff raff who needs constant monitoring to pick up minimum wage !!! Tempers fraying

  9. maria dibling
    23rd June 2014

    is it legal to have cameras in communal areas such as the lounge or kitchen in a rest home

  10. George Valentine
    20th August 2014

    I am George Valentine any staff,carer or relative that suspects serious abuse in the work place it is a must to watch my DVD on you tube. “Advice for whistle-blowers on you tube”
    I recommend like Panorama did in Bristol and Croydon advise you to film the serious abuse that will stand up in a court of law get the proof then action will be taken.The C Q C and foundation trusts of which I am a governor rarely if ever use hidden cameras this make it extremely unlikely to catch the abuser and when they eventually catch them it takes up to 5 years to get to court my way is swift and gets results. Panorama did it so can you

  11. Heather evans
    25th September 2014

    its the most stupid idea you’ve come up with yet,, I’ve worked in care for 25years.i love my work as do most of the people I’ve worked with.it would positively feel exactly like a prison.already pressured staff pushed to the max.i think it’s time that cqc and management started to respect the people that keep them employed as much as they wish to be respected.the cameras take away all dignity from users unless there at risk ofcorse.The home I work in at the moment has a 100% rating so why would there be a need to install cameras??

  12. Jonathan Mackay
    6th October 2014

    Why have the useless bureaucratic CQC at all? It is expensive for the good carehomes and in the past was ineffective at exposing abuse even with tipoffs.

  13. Dawn Whitehouse
    18th October 2014

    Surely the service users should be consulted on the installation of camera’s in their care home and give consent

    Is this not a deprivation of liberty for those service users who do not have the mental capacity to consent