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Scope are a disability equality charity in England and Wales. They provide practical information and emotional support when it's most needed. They campaign to create a fairer society.

This Guide reminds you that you do not need a signature to show you have consent. It also helps you think about who you need to get consent from. This includes consent from parents and carers for children and adults who may not be able to give informed consent themselves.

Steps to getting consent whilst on a video call

When you are running video calls (with groups or 1 to 1) you need to make sure people are happy with what you are doing. You want them to feel informed and empowered. Sometimes this can mean obtaining formal consent. Sometimes it is making sure that people understand their choices.

Sometimes you may be able to assume or infer someone's consent from what they do. To do that you need to know whether each person is able to consent for themselves. For example:

  • Agreement to be part of the sessions - can be taken from the fact that the person showed up if they can consent for themselves. Parent or carer agreement may be needed if they cannot.

  • Decisions about their actions within the session - consent can be assumed from the choices people make (for people able to consent). A parent or carer may assist during sessions, to help people make choices if they struggle to understand.

  • Consent to recording and how it is used - is clearest and most inclusive if formally asked for and documented.

  • Understanding how workers must respond if they reveal information about their lives that suggests a safeguarding concern. Because people may have varying abilities to understand and agree to this.

Scope run group and 1 to 1 employment support services. As part of the service they run online help sessions using different video calling platforms. They wanted to be able to record as many of these sessions as possible so that people can refer back to them. They also wanted to share group sessions with people who couldn’t attend. They have developed a method for getting consent for this at the start of group sessions.

Children and young people

You should always get consent from children and young people themselves, especially if you want to record them or use their image. But you also need their parent or carer's permission.

  • If the child is under 13 - you need their parent or carer's permission to use their personal data

  • If they are under 16 - NSPCC recommend that you get their parent or carer's permission before using their image

  • You should also follow any other rules your organisation has for safeguarding purposes.


Adults can consent on their own behalf if they can understand what they are consenting to (this is called capacity). This can change though. For example on one day someone may be too distressed to process what you are asking about their involvement in a call and may need a carer's support to understand. Another day they may be able to make the decision for themselves.

You must make decisions about each person as an individual. You cannot decide that an entire group have the same capacity just because they share a learning difficulty, for example.

Want to know more about capacity for adults so you can decide when you need a parent or carers consent? Care England have a great PDF guide.

Scope’s employment services work with a range of people. Most of them can understand information about recording video calls and give informed consent. Some of them need the support of their carer to check they have understood the information at the start of the call so they can make their decision. 

Some of them do not understand enough to give consent. Scope offers them face to face services instead.

Asking people to sign up to your sessions is a good way to get their agreement to taking part. You can make it clear that people under a certain age need to sign up with the support of a parent carer. You can also design a sign up process that lets you know how much carer support adults have.

You could ask for consent to record the session as part of this sign up process. But there are some reasons why you might not want to do this:

  • It may be harder to explain in writing what you want to do than it is at the session

  • Signing up might happen a long time before the session

  • It doesn’t take into account how people are feeling on the day of the session

Scope obtain consent during the sign up process and check it again once the session has started. This allows for and supports people's need and right to change their mind or make a decision based on how they are feeling on a particular day.

Once people have signed up, you need to send invites to each session.

Make sure you keep these simple and short. Tailor invites to each participant. Then you can remind parents or carers that need to give consent that they should be there at the beginning of the call.

Scope allow participants to choose how they would like to receive these invites. They send most through email or SMS.

They get the information from their video call provider (Zoom) but they delete all the extra bits and just send the needed link in the message. This helps people understand what to do.

Make sure your video call is set so that people join the call with cameras off to start with. Let them know how to turn them on if they want to.

Talk people through what you will be doing. Let them know they will always have a choice to join in or not with activities.

Make sure people understand how to speak, use that chat, and use reactions and emojis. Let them use whichever suits them best.

Explain to people the level of privacy and confidentiality you offer. Find a simple way to describe your safeguarding practices.

Scope follow all of these steps. Here is an example of how they describe their safeguarding responsibilities:

"We aim to always offer you a safe space to talk, without any judgement. However, we have a responsibility to ensure that everyone stays safe, so if you tell me something that causes me concern, or suggests there is a risk of emotional or physical harm to you or any adult or child, then I have a responsibility to ensure our safeguarding procedures are followed. This could mean that a referral to Children or Adult Services within your Local Authority will be made. If you already have a social worker, I may need to contact them and share information."

Tell the participant that you would like to record the call. Explain what the recording will be used for. Check they understand.

Ask them if they are happy being recorded. Check if they have their video on if they want it on and off if they prefer that.

If you need additional consent from a parent or carer ask them.

If they say yes, tell them that you are going to start recording, and explain that you will need to ask them again once recording has started. Start recording and then ask them. Now you have a record or their consent.

If anyone says no, don’t record that session.

This can be time consuming in group sessions. So you can ask people as they arrive, reminding them you’ll ask again once everyone is there.

Scope offer both face to face and online sessions. Most people they see in online sessions have got familiar with the process of giving consent for recording, and it now takes less time at the beginning of call, even in groups.

Further information

We don't have a contact at Scope for this Guide.