Agenda item


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The Senior Internal Auditor presented the report and explained that the Council was governed by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in respect of surveillance and other related activities.


Members were informed that the Council was inspected on these matters (usually every 3 years) and had been recently inspected on 17 December 2021 by IPCO (the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office).


The Senior Internal Auditor explained that even if the Council does not necessarily use the powers available, it must ensure that the Council’s policies and procedures were fit for purpose and robust to assist in remaining compliant with the legislation and furthermore to enable the Council to demonstrate this to IPCO.


The key issues were outlined as set out in the report.


The Senior Internal Auditor explained that any incidents of non-compliance would need to be fed into the Annual Governance Survey and this in turn was reported to the Audit Committee.


The Panel was advised that the item was currently on the Cabinet Forward Decisions List for 21 June 2022.


Councillor Devereux commented that it was a new policy and asked if there were any additional resources requirements than previously.  In response, the Senior Internal  Auditor explained that some were some areas of the authority that may use the activities and that he suggested each individual service area would have to monitor the situation going forward to see if it did impact on resources.


In response to a question from the Chair on the requirement for a delegated decision, the Senior Internal Auditor explained that he would take advice on the best way to take this forward.


The Chair stated that it there were changes to the Appendix for the Panel to note, could they be forwarded to the next Corporate Performance Panel meeting prior to the Cabinet on 21 June 2022.


The Chair referred to the letter from the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Officer (IPCO) dated 20 December 2021 and asked if permission was required to make the contents public.  The Senior Internal Auditor explained that this was a highly complex area for which a consultant was used to develop the policy and advised that he would review the letter and respond direct to the Panel.


Councillor Joyce addressed the Panel under Standing Order 34 and highlighted the importance the Borough Council being a public authority and the erection of signs advising that CCTV was in operation.  Councillor Joyce emphasised that it should not be used for private purposes.


The Chair thanked the Senior Internal Auditor for the thorough report.


RECOMMENDATION:  1) The Panel are invited to comment on the proposed RIPA Policy to be put forward for formal adoption via the Corporate Performance Panel, Cabinet and Council as per the time frame stated above.  Minor changes to these policies, thereafter, can be Member Delegated Decision in discussion with legal or others.  Appendix A (which is still to be produced) (to be noted at the next Corporate Performance Panel) will be a list of named officers, job titles and their role under RIPA which can be easily amended as required outside of formal approval processes relating to policy.


2) As per section 5.2 of the policy the Council will report its use, or non-use of these powers to the Corporate Performance Panel in line with the guidance provided by the IPCO to enable Members to determine the effectiveness of the RIPA policy each year.


3) The Policy be brought back to the Panel on an annual basis.


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