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Th!nkFM: Protection of Freedoms Act

18 June 2012

Facilities managers were warned this morning not to underestimate the time it will take to become compliant with the Protection of Freedoms Act.

Speaking at the  'competitive advantage' hub at today's Th!nkFM conference, Kate Gardner of Workplace Law said that the act - which will become law on October 1st - will have significant consequences, affecting the obtaining of biometric data, the clamping of vehicles on private property and the use of closed-circuit television (CCTV).

From October 1st, schools and colleges will need to obtain the consent of each parent before fingerprints or other biometric data can be taken from their children. FM providers will need to work closely with the schools they serve to ensure that the correct permissions are obtained and, if not, what alternative means should be put in place to accommodate pupils whose parent refuse such consent.

Another key aspect of the act will be the prohibition of wheel clamping on private property, making it a criminal offence for an organisation to do so.

Quoted on video during the session, Steve Clark of the British parking association maintained that unscrupulous parking operators would no longer be able to pray on motorists, and that landowners would now need to consider alternative methods of protection such as barriers or gates, or ticketing systems. Barriers and gates are expensive, while ticketing systems are a solution that selfish parkers may choose to ignore.

Said Gardner: "Landowners are now disadvantaged and will need to consider carefully how they protect their land."

On CCTV, when asked if they had read and understood the current (2008) CCTV code of practice, virtually no one in the audience was able to say yes.