The Investigatory Powers Commissioner may choose to run a public consultation as part of a review of existing processes or in considering how responsibilities should be conducted in the future. 

We will review all responses received, in line with our policy on public consultations.  All responses will be published, and the Investigatory Powers Commissioner may organise events further to explore issues that have been raised. The final conclusions from a consultation exercise will then be made public.

01 August 2018

This policy sets out how we will conduct consultations, the circumstances in which we will conduct them and the operation of such consultations

Consultation: Consolidated Guidance

In June 2018, the Prime Minister asked the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to review the ‘Consolidated Guidance on the detention and interviewing of detainees overseas and on the passing and receipt of intelligence relating to detainees’, and to make proposals as to how the guidance could be improved.

The Investigatory Powers Commissioner sought the views of civil society and others with an interest in this area by posing a series of questions, set out in the paper, Consultation on the Consolidated Guidance.

We received nine responses. Having reviewed these, in December 2018, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner gathered non-Government organisations, various interested academics and Government representatives for a meeting at Chatham House. This was chaired by Lord Anderson of Ipswich and a summary of the discussion was made public.

In reaching his final conclusions, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner also held a number of meetings with representatives from the Government and the intelligence agencies. This was to ensure the operational impact of any proposals were understood.

The recommendations in the Commissioner’s final response to the Prime Minister, along with the new guidance (The Principles relating to the detention and interviewing of detainees overseas and the passing and receipt of intelligence relating to detainees) were accepted by the Prime Minister and published on 18 July 2019.

Consultation: use of bulk powers

The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 set out for the first time in UK law the provisions for the “bulk” acquisition of data on individuals through the acquisition of communications data, equipment interference, bulk interception and the retention of bulk datasets.

Following a review into the operational case for bulk powers, David Anderson QC published a “Report on the Bulk Powers Review” a comprehensive report in August 2016 setting out how bulk powers operate, the sort of activity they authorise and why they are so important to our security and intelligence agencies. It also outlined detailed case studies setting out how bulk powers are used and the operational outcomes they provide.

Our Judicial Commissioners’ consideration of the decision to issue a bulk warrant was due to commence later that year. To prepare for this, we sent a request to wider organisations requesting that they share their thoughts on factors that Judicial Commissioners should have in mind, and the approach they should take to various competing considerations. We asked that they consider the case studies in Lord Anderson’s report.

We received four responses to the submission request that helped shape the process we have in place for our Judicial Commissioners consideration of bulk warrants.

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