What are the call recording laws in the UK?

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The line between safety and privacy is becoming thinner and thinner as the UK government tries to keep the public safe in the wake of some of the atrocious things that have been happening. This has a knock on effect to regulation in things like businesses recording calls. The call recording laws in the UK are complicated and regulated by a number of different bodies. The main regulators for call recording in the UK are:

  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
  • Telecommunications Regulations 2000
  • Data Protection Act 1998
  • Telecommunications Regulations 1999
  • Human Rights Act 1998

Why do companies record calls in the first place?

There are many reasons that companies record calls and most of them are put in place just to make the business better. Training and monitoring are the main reasons calls are recorded in the UK. Not only is call monitoring a good way to help with an employees continued professional development but it is also a way to establish if the customer was right or not if there is a dispute. Listening back to a call is one of the main ways most companies that use telecommunications establish what policy or procedure to use going forward after a complaint has been raised by the customer. Many questions have been raised in recent years into whether call recording is ethical or not – but companies are bound by law to tell you that the call is being recorded, so as the customer it is your choice to continue the call or not. In most cases it can be beneficial to customers if they are adamant they are right or something was agreed to on the call that the company is denying. As part of the Data Protection Act 1998 all customers have the right to a recorded call of themselves.

What are the laws?

RIPA is the main regulation for the recording of calls. While larger companies adhere to policies and regulations that are internal, small companies and individuals are only bound to the regulations stated above.

Can anyone record calls?

As an individual you are able to record phone calls. There are currently no UK laws prohibiting actually recording the call – just what you do with the information when you have captured it. The only time call recording becomes illegal is if you hand over the information to a third party without the customer who has been recorded’s consent. You also need to be mindful of how secure the connection is if there is going to be sensitive information discussed.

Do I have to tell people they are being recorded?

Again, you do not need to inform people they are being recorded on a personal level if you do not wish to relay the information on to a third party.

What are the laws for businesses?

The laws for businesses are slightly different. They are only allowed to record calls in the following circumstances:

  • Evidence of a business transaction is being provided between customer and representative
  • The call recording is to ensure that a company is complying with certain regulations
  • The call is being recorded to ensure that a certain quality is being met
  • The prevention or detection of crime or to protect national security
  • To investigate the wrongful usage of telecommunications systems or to ensure the safe usage of them

If you would like to implement call recording for your business, at Number Supermarket we are able to provide this across all of our telephone numbers – whether you’re buying an 0800 number for a customer helpline, an 0300 number for your charity, or an 0845 number for a sales line. Get in touch today if you would like to learn more.