Use of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA ACT 2000)

James Harford made this Freedom of Information request to Cheshire West and Chester 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 partially successful.

Dear Cheshire West and Chester Council,

Following reports in the media concerning the use of the Regulation
of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000, I would like to know,
since RIPA was passed:

1) On how many occasions has Cheshire West Council conducted an
investigation, surveillance operation or made a request for an
individual’s communication records (either internet or
telecommunications) under the RIPA, by year,

2a) The dates that the individual requests were made,
2b) In each instance above: The type of investigation for which the
request for surveillance was made (or a reason why the request or
relating to offence evidence of which was being sought by means of
the surveillance),
2c) In each instance above: The ethnicity and gender of the person
targeted by the request,
2d) An indication if the target of the request resided outside of
the council boundary area.

3) The total number of requests for each type of surveillance that
have been rejected by an officer of the Council, by year.

4) How many individuals within the authority are authorised to
request surveillance/ information via RIPA, and what is their job
description and/ or designated grade?

5) Have any employees in (or third parties working for) the
authority ever been investigated or disciplined for the misuse or
alleged misuse of a member of the public’s personal information
that has been obtained using RIPA powers?

6) What safeguards are currently in place within your authority to
prevent the illegitimate use/ misuse of personal/ communications
information obtained via RIPA? This might involve an explanation of
the processes are in place to ensure that officers, employees or
consultants attached to the organisation, and concerned with such
requests, cannot make illegitimate use of the RIPA legislation.

7) Have any employees or officers unlawfully covertly surveilled
any members of the public without the correct RIPA authority or
without the permission or knowledge of their superiors?

Yours faithfully,

James Harford

Cheshire West and Chester Council

RE: Your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Case Reference: 101002600633

Dear Mr Harford

Thank you for your email of 20 December 2014 about RIPA.

It will be treated as a request within the meaning of the Act: this means that we will send you a full response within 20 working days, either supplying you with the information which you want, or explaining to you why we cannot supply it.

If we need any further clarification or there is any problem we will be in touch.

In the meantime if you wish to discuss this further please contact FOIWEST. It would be helpful if you could quote the log number.

Yours sincerely

Ruth Winson
Solutions Team

Cheshire West and Chester Council

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ROBERT PICKTHALL (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Dear Mr Harford

excellent questions sir ..bravo. But I seriously doubt you will receive the answer you so rightly deserve.

regards,

Robert A Pickthall

James Harford left an annotation ()

Robert

One authority......Knowsley MBC has already been caught out. Whatever happened to transparency?

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/u...

ROBERT PICKTHALL (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Hi James

Transparency, like openness and accountability, is a commodity which despite assuring us it trades in Cheshire West and Chester Council does not practice. I sought the assistance of Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles last year pressing him to remind this Council it must be open,transparent and fully accountable - Mr Pickles said he could not intervene as each local authority was responsible for its own conduct. I now wonder why the Nation has need of Eric Pickles - I would ask him but clearly he too does not believe in openness, transparency and accountability.

regards,

Robert A Pickthall

FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

Dear Mr Harford

 

Further to your request for information reference 2600633.

 

I am sorry that it is taking longer than anticipated to respond to your
request and for not keeping you up to date.

 

We hope to be in a position to advise in more detail next week.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Ruth Winson

Solutions Assistant

Cheshire West and Chester Council

 

‘Make sure you are [1]registered to vote’.

 

 

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References

Visible links
1. http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/

FOI West, Cheshire West and Chester Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Harford

 

Thank you for your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, I am
able to provide you with the following response.

 

Please be advised that this Authority only came into being in 2009
following Local Government Reorganisation, and so information for Cheshire
West and Chester Council can only be provided from 2009 to date.

 

The majority of the information you have requested is exempt under Section
21 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, being information readily
accessible by other means.  The Council is required to report on a
quarterly basis to Members via the Audit and Governance Committee.  The
report includes the following information:

 

·         Number of Authorisations

·         Legislation

·         Goods/Service

·         Information requested from Service providers

·         Operation Start Date

·         Operation End Date

·         Brief explanation why action instigated

·         Measures used

·         Resulting legal action

 

The Council therefore considers that your questions 1, 2a, 2b, and 3 can
be found by searching for the publicly available reports of the Audit and
Governance Committee on its website:

 

[1]http://cmttpublic.cheshirewestandchester...

 

For your ease of reference, a brief description of the reason for invoking
the RIPA powers and the outcomes from these is provided in the documents
within the above attached web link.

 

In relation to your requests under 2c, 2d and 4,5,6,7 I am able to provide
you with the following information:

 

2c) In each instance above: The ethnicity and gender of the person
targeted by the request

See spreadsheet attached.

 

2d) An indication if the target of the request resided outside of the
council boundary area

As above.

 

4) How many individuals within the authority are authorised to request
surveillance/ information via RIPA, and what is their job description and/
or designated grade?

 

3

 

5) Have any employees in (or third parties working for) the authority ever
been investigated or disciplined for the misuse or alleged misuse of a
member of the public’s personal information that has been obtained using
RIPA powers?

No

 

6) What safeguards are currently in place within your authority to prevent
the illegitimate use/ misuse of personal/ communications information
obtained via RIPA? This might involve an explanation of the processes are
in place to ensure that officers, employees or consultants attached to the
organisation, and concerned with such requests, cannot make illegitimate
use of the RIPA legislation.

Cheshire West and Chester Council uses the National Anti-Fraud Network
(NAFN) service to process communications data applications. NAFN provide a
single point of contact (SPoC) service and their role is to independently
examine and review all communications data applications submitted by the
Local Authority to ensure the request fully complies with current
legislation. Following the initial independent SPOC assessment, the
designated person within the Local Authority will formally review the
request and where appropriate and justified approve the application. The
Applicant is then required to submit the application to the Justice of the
Peace (JP) for judicial approval. The Court approval is sent to the SPOC
using a secure gateway and enquiries will then be made by NAFN with the
Service Providers. Any information held is subsequently returned by the
SPOC to the Applicant using a secure gateway. The information is
subsequently stored within the secure NAFN computer system and/or the
associated Legal File to comply with disclosure responsibilities. This
complies with the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 and
Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 requirements.

 

7) Have any employees or officers unlawfully covertly surveilled any
members of the public without the correct RIPA authority or without the
permission or knowledge of their superiors?

No

 

We trust this answers your enquiry.

 

The Council considers that your request has been answered in full by
either confirming that information is not held, providing you with the
information requested, or explaining why any information has been withheld
and the reasons for any redaction.    Where applicable, the Council has
also told you the reasons for the delay in responding to your request.

 

If you are unhappy with the way your request for information has been
handled you can request a review by writing to the Solutions Team within

40 working days from the date of the Council’s response.  You are entitled
to a review by the Council if:

·         You are dissatisfied with the Council’s explanation of why the
application was not dealt with within the 20 working day time limit.

·         All the information requested is not being disclosed and you
have not received an explanation why some information is not being
disclosed.

·         A reason for the disclosures under the request being refused is
not received.

·         You consider that exemptions have been wrongly applied, and/or

·         You consider that a fee has been wrongly applied.

Please set out your grounds for seeking a review together with what
specific part of your request those grounds apply to and the outcome you
are seeking.  The Council reserves the right to ask you for clarification
of the grounds for your review request if the grounds are not clear, and
to delay commencing the review if such grounds are not provided.

 

The Solutions Team can be contacted by email via: 
[2][Cheshire West and Chester Council request email] or at the following address:

 

Solutions Team

Cheshire West and Chester Council

HQ

58 Nicholas Street

Chester

CH1 2NP

 

The Solutions Team will acknowledge a request for an internal review
within 5 working days and complete the review as soon as possible and no
later than 40 working days from receipt of the request.

 

More information about the Council’s internal review process can be found
via:
[3]http://www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk...

 

If you remain dissatisfied following the outcome of your review, you have
a right of appeal to the Information Commissioner at:

 

The Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire SK9 5AF

 

Telephone: 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45

Website: [4]www.ico.gov.uk

 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Miriam Wallace

Solutions Team
Cheshire West and Chester Council

 

 

 

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