St Mary the Virgin, Maulden

  • Safe Use of Images

Safe Use of Images Policy: St Mary’s Church, Maulden


Data Protection

The Data Protection Act places certain duties on us to ensure that we have relevant consent to take and publish images and that we keep all data secure. 

We always ensure that we have checked whether there are reasons that a particular person cannot be photographed or identified, especially if it is a child. 

We must obtain the permission of all the people who will appear in a photograph, video or webcam image before we record the footage. That means children as well as adults. On occasions when group photographs are to be taken the people involved will be made aware that photographs may be used for publicity and given the opportunity to step out. 

If we are taking images at an event attended by large crowds, such as a sports event, this may be regarded as a public area so you do not need to get the permission of everyone in a crowd shot. However, there is no clear guidance on this so if in doubt, we avoid using such images and use a library image instead.  

It is a requirement of the Data Protection Act that we safeguard your images (both digital and hard copies) by storing them securely and only allow use by those authorised to do so. The maximum period for use of an image on the website is five years. When we are finished with images, we destroy or delete them.  

If we hold copies of images on file, we can’t release these without up-to-date consent forms. We take care with images that we have archived. An image taken at a specific time and in specific circumstances can not necessarily be used again at a later date or in a different context. Doing so can result in legal action.  

When publishing images of children and young people, we follow these guidelines:

   If we publish their picture, do not publish a name

   If we publish their name, do not publish a picture

   We do not publish full names, addresses or e-mail addresses

   We do not publish individual close-up portraits

   When publishing children’s’ work we simply label it as by ‘John’

   We give adult leaders and parents the opportunity to request that their contact information is not included in any published material 

If parents are permitted to take images during or after an event or service, we make it clear from the start that they must be for private use only and ask for them not to put the images on the internet (particularly if a parent posts a picture on the web that shows children other than just their own child). If the picture is being used for public use then consent must be obtained.

We might want to provide written guidance to parents beforehand and/or make an announcement at the start of the event/service. 


When taking images, we ensure we have written permission to take and publish the images before we start. This permission should cover: How the image will be used

(i.e. for a one-off article or as a general resource that could appear in a number of contexts)

   How it will NOT be used

(i.e. alongside articles or text that are of potentially sensitive or offensive subjects)

   Where it will be used / who will it be available to

(i.e. in internal/public-facing printed newsletters, on the web, in a DVD, in local and/or national media, in exhibitions etc.)

   How long it will be used for

(i.e. once only, for 2 years, 3 years, indefinitely etc. Be mindful that people’s circumstances change and it can become inappropriate to continue to use a photo)  

If you require a consent form please contact a church warden or the Rector.


For children under 18 years old, the form should be completed by a parent or guardian. Consent forms should also be obtained for adults, particularly if they are considered ‘vulnerable’, for example those with learning disabilities.

The parent/guardian or social worker may give written consent in these circumstances. We are aware that some people may require help to understand and complete a consent form, need the information translated into a different language or have it supplied in a different format. Completed consent paperwork should be kept on file for the duration of the time the image is being used. Once this time is up, the image should be destroyed.

We do not use an image unless we know that we have permission to do so. If we are unsure, we use an alternative. 


Copyright law applies to almost everything, and can be complex and ambiguous. A few basic points are listed below:

   Copyright automatically belongs to the person who created the work. In the UK it does not need to be registered. We take care with any images we release to the media, it is our responsibility to check with the owner of the copyright that it is OK to use them.

   If we are using someone else’s image we must get their written permission, and always credit the artist

   Images are protected for the lifetime of the creator and for 70 years after his/her death

   Downloading images from the internet and using them on your church website without the copyright owners consent may breach copyright laws, and could be considered a criminal offence, leading to heavy fines. We are aware that picture agencies and photographers are increasingly using software to track their images.

   If we put something on the web, we must obtain electronic global broadcasting rights from the owner of the copyright. 


We are careful about the context in which we use an image, especially if it is of children.

   If we are using it for publicity specifically related to an event, there should be little problem as long as the relevant consents have been obtained.

   For information that covers sensitive areas we always use a library picture. Using pictures of real children alongside these subjects could result in legal action by parents / carers.

   We do not use a photo in a context that is different to that stated on the consent form.

   We ensure that images cannot be construed as being provocative.

   When taking/using images, we try to be representative of diversity by reflecting gender, race and disability. 

New media

‘New media’ describes anything that relies on digital technology or computerised methods of communication, for example the internet, email, electronic kiosks, multimedia CD-ROMs, mobile phones, podcasts, webcams etc. 

New media is becoming more widely used; along with this increased use comes an increased responsibility to consider how we use images safely within the new technology. 

The information shared by new media is more accessible than in non-digital formats; it is easy for people to amend, manipulate or copy images, which makes them more open to abuse. As such we must be more vigilant than ever about obtaining the relevant consent to publish images, how we publish them and monitoring their use. 

If we plan to use an image in any form of new media, we should obtain electronic global broadcasting rights from the owner of the copyright and ensure that the consent form states that the image will be used in digital formats, including the web. 

If we are a web-publisher, we do not use an image that has been uploaded onto the system by someone else without checking with the original publisher/owner that the relevant permissions have been obtained. 

We do not pixelate (blur) an image in order to obscure the face of the person in it – we use an alternative picture. 

The Maulden P.C.C. takes responsilbility for all photographs used on the website of St Mary’s church. 

Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

When using images in new media, we must comply with the DDA. The DDA applies to everyone who provides a service to the public. Service providers must ensure that they do not discriminate against disabled persons when using new media images. In order to comply with the DDA, we will need to ensure that all images have meta-tags and that you do not overlay a photo with text. 

Releasing images to the media

The legislation governing whether or not the media can publish an image is complicated and ambiguous. If we are in any doubt about having an image published, we do not release it to the media. 

If we do release an image to the media, we are aware that we are responsible for checking that all the relevant written consents have been obtained for the people in it and the owner of the copyright agrees to the image being published. If the media publishes an image we have supplied and the consents have not been obtained, responsibility falls to us. 

The laws surrounding this issue are becoming stricter, especially for pictures of children. We will be extremely cautious not to release any pictures of children who are in care, under wardship or involved in family law cases. The legal implications are serious.