Surveillance Commissioners' Recommendations

Richard Taylor made this Freedom of Information request to Cambridge City Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

At the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee of Cambridge City Council on the 1st of September 2008 the Council's Head of Legal Services verbally informed the committee the Council had been inspected by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners (OSC) and noted that they had made recommendations to the Council.

Councillors were being invited to scrutinise Cambridge City Council's use of its surveillance powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). However the report presented to councillors did not include any mention of the inspection(s) or the resultant recommendations.

I would like to make a request for the following to be released in respect of OSC inspections and audits conducted during 2007 and 2008:

1. The OSC’s covering letter to the Council which accompanied the inspection report.

2. The report’s conclusions.

3. The report’s recommendations.

4. Cambridge City Council's response to the OSC.

5. The list of Cambridge City Council Officers who have been sent, or who have had access to, a copy of the report.

6. The list of Cambridge City Councillors who have been sent, or who have had access to, a copy of the report.

I am not seeking operational details or knowledge of covert techniques, nor am I seeking personal information. I am also not seeking the inspection report(s).

I note that I am making this request only after the officers have failed to give an elected member information on "feedback from the OSC" which he has requested.

I would like to suggest this information is included in the report on RIPA compliance due to be delivered to a future meeting of the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee.

--

Richard Taylor

Cambridge

http://www.rtaylor.co.uk

Richard Taylor left an annotation ()

Background information on this request is available on my website:
http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/ripa-powers-rev...

Simon Pugh, Cambridge City Council

Dear Mr Taylor,

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your request.

In accordance with the Act we will send you the information within 20 working days i.e. by 6 November at the latest.

Yours sincerely

Simon Pugh
Head of Legal Services

Tel: (01223) 457401

_____________________________________________
From: Richard Taylor [mailto:[FOI #3498 email]]
Sent: 08 October 2008 22:55
Posted To: Microsoft Office Outlook Embedded Message
Conversation: Freedom of Information request - Surveillance Commissioners' Recommendations
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Surveillance Commissioners' Recommendations

At the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee of Cambridge City
Council on the 1st of September 2008 the Council's Head of Legal
Services verbally informed the committee the Council had been
inspected by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners (OSC) and
noted that they had made recommendations to the Council.

Councillors were being invited to scrutinise Cambridge City
Council's use of its surveillance powers under the Regulation of
Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). However the report presented to
councillors did not include any mention of the inspection(s) or the
resultant recommendations.

I would like to make a request for the following to be released in
respect of OSC inspections and audits conducted during 2007 and
2008:

1. The OSC’s covering letter to the Council which accompanied the
inspection report.

2. The report’s conclusions.

3. The report’s recommendations.

4. Cambridge City Council's response to the OSC.

5. The list of Cambridge City Council Officers who have been sent,
or who have had access to, a copy of the report.

6. The list of Cambridge City Councillors who have been sent, or
who have had access to, a copy of the report.

I am not seeking operational details or knowledge of covert
techniques, nor am I seeking personal information. I am also not
seeking the inspection report(s).

I note that I am making this request only after the officers have
failed to give an elected member information on "feedback from the
OSC" which he has requested.

I would like to suggest this information is included in the report
on RIPA compliance due to be delivered to a future meeting of the
Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee.

--

Richard Taylor

Cambridge

http://www.rtaylor.co.uk

show quoted sections

Simon Pugh, Cambridge City Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Taylor,

I am writing in response to your Freedom of Information Act request dated 9 October 2008. I will take your requests in order:

Request:

I would like to make a request for the following to be released in respect of OSC inspections and audits conducted during 2007 and 2008:

Comment:

There was an inspection in April 2007 but there has not been an inspection (or audit) in 2008. The Office of Surveillance Commissioners determines its programme of inspections and they are not necessarily conducted annually.

1. The OSC’s covering letter to the Council which accompanied the inspection report.

Attached.

2. The report’s conclusions.

Attached.

3. The report’s recommendations.

Attached. These cross-refer to paragraphs in the report and, in order that the recommendations may be understood, I also attach the paragraphs to which they relate.

4. Cambridge City Council's response to the OSC.

Attached.

5. The list of Cambridge City Council Officers who have been sent, or who have had access to, a copy of the report.

We do not have a definitive list but the following officers have been sent or have had access to the report:

Chief Executive;
Director of Central Services
Director of Customer and Democratic Services
Head of Legal Services
CCTV Manager
Safer Communities Section Manager.

6. The list of Cambridge City Councillors who have been sent, or
who have had access to, a copy of the report.

The report was not sent to councillors at the time. A copy was sent to the Leader of the Council on 24 October 2008.

We recognise that the report is critical of aspects of our RIPA procedure. The strength of the criticism came as a surprise to us as the conclusion of the previous inspection (on 22 December 2005) was that:

“There is a very sound framework for authorisation in place. And an evident understanding of the legislation and commitment to good practice among the officers that I met.”

The inspection prior to that (20 August 2002) said it was clear that officers were “well-trained”, described our policy document for use of RIPA as “excellent subject to the small amendments that were discussed” and described the CCTV system as “an outstanding service” which was “most efficiently operated”.

Nonetheless, we recognise that the criticisms made in the April 2007 inspection were justified and we have approached them in a constructive manner. We believe that we have addressed all the criticisms and recommendations made by the OSC, in particular by strengthening the central oversight role.

I hope that you find this reply helpful but please let me know if I have not answered your query in full.

If you are not happy with the way in which your request has been dealt with please contact Antoinette Jackson, Director of Customer and Democratic Services. (Email: [email address]. uk, Address: The Guildhall, Cambridge, CB2 3QJ.

You may also contact the Information Commissioner if you are still not happy with the way your request has been dealt with. The Information Commissioner’s address is:
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF

Yours sincerely

Simon Pugh
Head of Legal Services


Tel: (01223) 457401

_____________________________________________
From: Richard Taylor [mailto:[FOI #3498 email]]
Sent: 08 October 2008 22:55
Posted To: Microsoft Office Outlook Embedded Message
Conversation: Freedom of Information request - Surveillance Commissioners' Recommendations
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Surveillance Commissioners' Recommendations

At the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee of Cambridge City
Council on the 1st of September 2008 the Council's Head of Legal
Services verbally informed the committee the Council had been
inspected by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners (OSC) and
noted that they had made recommendations to the Council.

Councillors were being invited to scrutinise Cambridge City
Council's use of its surveillance powers under the Regulation of
Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). However the report presented to
councillors did not include any mention of the inspection(s) or the
resultant recommendations.

I would like to make a request for the following to be released in
respect of OSC inspections and audits conducted during 2007 and
2008:

1. The OSC’s covering letter to the Council which accompanied the
inspection report.

2. The report’s conclusions.

3. The report’s recommendations.

4. Cambridge City Council's response to the OSC.

5. The list of Cambridge City Council Officers who have been sent,
or who have had access to, a copy of the report.

6. The list of Cambridge City Councillors who have been sent, or
who have had access to, a copy of the report.

I am not seeking operational details or knowledge of covert
techniques, nor am I seeking personal information. I am also not
seeking the inspection report(s).

I note that I am making this request only after the officers have
failed to give an elected member information on "feedback from the
OSC" which he has requested.

I would like to suggest this information is included in the report
on RIPA compliance due to be delivered to a future meeting of the
Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee.

--

Richard Taylor

Cambridge

http://www.rtaylor.co.uk

show quoted sections