Dealing with Consent - Practical issues

Dealing with consent

Whether you work for a school or an industry partner, sooner or later you may be faced with the issue of obtaining consent from the right people before the activities of a project can go ahead as planned.

To give an example, parents or legal guardians need to be asked to provide their consent for a child to participate in a visit to a company.

Another example, is where an industry host may wish to take a photo of the participants visiting their factory or site (see also the “Taking photos and videos” section); or children and teachers may need to register on a company website, in order to take part in a competition organised by an industry partner.

These are just a few occasions where obtaining consent is important, but there may be others, depending on the nature of the project being organised.

The different forms of consent

In most cases, getting consent from the relevant people (head teacher, child, parent or legal guardian) is fairly straightforward and should not pose any difficulties. However, it is worth bearing in mind that consent may take a number of forms:

  1. Part of a privacy notice on a website where the participant is asked to click on the acceptance button when entering his/her personal details for a competition or game organised by the industry partner. The privacy notice should make clear what the information will be used for, how long it will be kept and who it will be shared with.
  2. Formal written consent, for example, when an individual (parent, guardian or young person) is asked for their permission when a photograph or video is planned to be taken of the child by the industry partner.
  3. Giving consent on behalf of a parent/guardian. In some cases, a head teacher may give consent on behalf of the parent or legal guardian, where the school has such an arrangement with them. 

Practical issues

In most cases where a formal consent is needed, it’s better that it is given in writing, as this makes it clear for everybody involved exactly how the consent has been given.

Nowadays, it is also common practice for the child to be asked for his or her approval when he or she is able to understand the issues involved. In some countries, only the consent of the young person is necessary as long as they are 16 or over.

Given the number of circumstances where consent could be an issue, it makes sense for both schools and businesses involved in a project to agree on what approvals and consents are required, the format they should take, and who should obtain them.