The role of IPCO

Is IPCO part of the UK Government?

No. IPCO is an Arm’s Length Body of the Home Office and led by a member (or former member) of the senior judiciary. Although the IPC was created by the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, they independently oversee the use of investigatory powers and submit an annual report of findings to the Prime Minister.

How do you ensure you are up-to-date with the latest technology developments?

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC) and Judicial Commissioners (JCs) are advised by an independent Technology Advisory Panel (TAP). Members of the TAP can advise the IPC and JCs on the impact of changing technology and the development of techniques in the use of investigatory powers while minimising privacy interference.

IPCO’s inspectors, legal team, policy team and communications team also regularly engage with external stakeholders, speaking at forums and attending roundtables, to keep up-to-date with any changes in technology that may impact their work.

Who works at IPCO and how do I find out about job opportunities?

IPCO employs approximately 50 people with a diverse range of backgrounds and experience. Staff include inspectors, lawyers, communications experts and others. More information can be found on our ‘who we are’ page.

We do not currently have any vacancies available. When we do, details will be available on our Careers page and on the Civil Service Jobs website.

I need help

I am concerned that my rights have been breached, what do I do?

If you are concerned that you have been a victim of unlawful action by a public authority using covert investigative techniques, such as investigatory powers, you can register a complaint with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal.

Information about how to file a complaint can be found here on their website.

I am concerned about a police officer’s behaviour towards me, what do I do?

Police conduct is not under IPCO’s remit. If you are a member of the public who are concerned about the behaviour of the police, you should direct this to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

Will IPCO provide further information upon request?

IPCO is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. However, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner has a specific requirement to make certain information public, as set out in the Investigatory Powers Act 2016. The Investigatory Powers Commissioner will provide information about their work through an Annual Report which is laid in Parliament by the Prime Minister and published on the IPCO website.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner may, at his discretion, also share information in other contexts, where this is appropriate, permitted under the Investigatory Powers Act and is consistent with the discharge of his statutory responsibilities, including the safeguarding of national security.

How can I find out if a public authority has authorised the use of covert powers to obtain my communications data, or conduct surveillance upon me?

If we hold any personal information about you, you have the right to ask for a copy of it through a subject access request (SAR). However, in certain circumstances, such as where data is being used for investigating, preventing or detecting crime, or in the interests of national security, requests for information may be declined.

When you write to us, you must provide the following:

  • confirmation of your identity: a copy of your passport, full driving licence or birth certificate (please do not send original documents)
  • confirmation of name and address: a copy of your full driving licence, a copy of a recent utility bill, bank or credit card statement, pension or child benefit book (or similar official document which shows your name and address)
  • if you are writing on behalf of someone else, a signed declaration from the person you are acting for indicating that they have asked you to make an application on their behalf

If possible, you should also send:

  • details of all addresses you have used in previous correspondence with IPCO, including email addresses (if applicable) so that we can search our systems
  • any information that might help us in locating the information in which you are interested (this might include details of any contacts you have had with the IPCO at any time, and details of why you think we will hold information about you)

Once we receive all the above information, IPCO has one month within which to respond to your request. This may be extended by up to two months in complex cases.

IPCO does not routinely keep records of individuals and if you have no previous dealings with our office, it is unlikely that we will hold information about you. If, however, you have reason to believe that we do hold information about you, please indicate any contacts or dealings you have had with IPCO in the past, so that we can locate anything that is relevant.

How do I submit a research request for information or an interview?

Academic requests can be submitted by completing a research request form.

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