It’s vital workers are informed about, and involved in designing, workplace monitoring tech

7 August 2023

The House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee has published a report into Connected Technology which made a series of recommendations, including on the use of monitoring technology  in the workplace.

worker at screen with text projected onto face

Recommendations of particular interest include:

64. The monitoring of employees in smart workplaces should be done only in consultation with, and with the consent of, those being monitored. The Government should commission research to improve the evidence base regarding the deployment of automated and data collection systems at work. It should also clarify whether proposals for the regulation of AI will extend to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and detail in its response to this report how HSE can be supported in fulfilling this remit.

65. The Information Commissioner’s Office should develop its existing draft guidance on “Employment practices: monitoring at work” into a principles-based code for designers and operators of workplace connected tech.

These are issues Prospect has been campaigning on for some time.

Andrew Pakes, Deputy General Secretary of Prospect union, responded:

“Monitoring of employees through their devices is becoming increasingly commonplace with regulation lagging well behind the pace of implementation.

“These are important recommendations from the Culture, Media and Sport committee report and would go some way to identifying the true scale of the issue, through government research, and catching up with the reality of worker surveillance. In particular, it is vital that workers are fully informed and involved in the design and use of monitoring software and what is being done with the data collected.

“It’s also important that any change or expansion of the role of HSE be matched with a significant funding boost to the agency which is already stretched to breaking point.”

Union for tech workers

For a better, healthier and fairer tech industry.