Get the parents' consent

Everyone wants to see photos and videos of your PTA fundraising events. How can you ensure you've got parents' consent and stay compliant with data protection?

Fundraising as a PTA means numerous opportunities for taking photos and making films, whether they be the foundation of a calendar project, profit-boosting nativity DVDs or images to share on social media, but what permissions do you need to ensure you’re compliant with data protection?

A good starting point is to consider whether the PTA is covered by the school, which is likely to have sent out a letter at the start of the school year gathering consent for children to be photographed and used in media. Consider what is included in the school’s policy relating to photographs for school use – it may be that the PTA does not come under this, meaning you need your own policy. Consult with the school to see how best to approach this. As they have experience setting out a policy and getting consent, they will be best placed to help you do the same.

The school will also be aware of any children with sensitive circumstances who cannot be photographed, for example children subject to adoption or those with protection orders. The GDPR regulations mean they won’t be allowed to tell you about specific children, but they will be able to advise further and will have experience of dealing with circumstances where precautions need to be taken.

Photo booth

A simple way to avoid concerns over storing images when running a photo booth at an event is either setting up a photo spot and charging people to use it, letting them take images on their own phones, or using a polaroid camera so that there is only one copy of the image, which the visitor takes home with them. Obviously if you’re just charging for a photospot then it will be a lot cheaper to take part than charging for a polaroid photo to be taken, where the cost of the photo paper needs to be taken into account. You should also ensure that the photographer has experience with polaroid cameras – you don’t want to waste materials with dodgy images!

Try appealing to local photographers to volunteer their time, agreeing a deal where the PTA takes a percentage of photograph sales. Professional photographers will be GDPR compliant in their jobs, meaning the PTA doesn’t need to worry about it.

Printed products

If selling a printed product such as a calendar, where children’s images are included, it’s good practice to request consent by sending out forms and asking that they’re returned signed to say the child’s picture can be included. An item such as a calendar may be seen as something that’s only used within the school community, but they’re often given out as presents and can go further than just inside the school.

Social media

When taking photographs or filming people in order to publish on your noticeboard, newsletter, website or social media, you should get their consent, explaining what you intend to do with the photograph/footage, including whether it is to be published and where. In relation to younger children, consent must be given by a parent or guardian on their behalf. This must be done in writing prior to the event. Consent should not be necessary when photographing/videoing a crowd where the individuals remain relatively anonymous.

Nativity DVDs

Taking a recording yourselves means you can stipulate that parents cannot do so, which protects all children from ending up on social media without permission.

Sales of nativity DVDs are a great way to remember performances and raise funds, but in order to sell or distribute the DVDs you need to have written consent from a parent or guardian of all the children shown, as well as from anyone who’s easily recognisable in the crowd. If there are multiple performances then film one where any children who can’t be filmed do not perform – they can still appear in other performances. You may also need a licence to record the show, depending on the rights of the play and your local authority. Ask your local council for details.

When it comes to filming the show, look into local professional companies who will know how to ensure their filming complies with GDPR and will give you a better quality product to sell. When selling DVDs stipulate that they are for private viewing only and not to be shared on social media.