Children

There is no legislation which covers the specific process of interviewing children and holding and using information about them. The Children Act 1989 states that children’s wishes and feelings should be incorporated into decision-making about them.

Case law has established that children under 16 with sufficient understanding may consent to medical treatment even if their parents do not, and this is taken to apply to other forms of activity. Guidelines produced for professionals in related areas can indicate the consensus on best practice. These include (for links see ‘Further Reading’):

Children are the initial owners of the copyright in their words in the same way as adults, though any formal copyright licence should also be signed by the parent or guardian until the child is 18. Any child who is able to understand his or her actions should sign a recording agreement. Agreements relating to interviews with children under 16 should be signed by a parent or guardian, but may be legally invalid unless also signed by the child.

The Oral History Society strongly advises that:

The Society encourages teachers to introduce children to oral history techniques. However the permission of a parent or guardian is required before any interview material featuring children at school is made available or disseminated beyond the classroom.

The UK Data Archive offers additional useful information about this area.

Close window