Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

Recorded telephone calls

The ASCL hotline staff have been encountering a small but increasing number of schools with a telephone answering service that states that calls may be recorded.

Those who are responsible for making the decision to do this should be very clear about how the information can and cannot be used.

The implied consent - given by a caller who continues a call after the warning - only applies to the use declared in the message.

Therefore, if a recording is allegedly made 'for training purposes only' it may not be used for any other purpose and should in any event be destroyed as soon as is reasonable afterwards (subject to the Data Protection Act).

Under the Human Rights Act, unless they are specifically told otherwise, staff have a 'reasonable expectation' that their private communications on school equipment will not be subject to surveillance. Only in a very limited number of situations may the act be breached - detecting a crime, for instance.

A breach of privacy may well form grounds for action against the school.

In schools where the surveillance of staff communications is declared to be a recognised practice, we advise that members contact the hotline or ASCL headquarters on a mobile or private phone or private email.

Bob Carstairs, ASCL assistant general secretary

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