Potential cases of non-compliance are reported to us as “errors”. Each error is assessed for its seriousness and, if applicable, will be investigated by an Inspector.

The errors we investigate include human and technical errors. Findings of error investigations will be used by the public authorities to inform policy changes, national training and product development to reduce or eliminate the risk of further occurrences.

Irrespective of the scale of the error, we will focus on its human impact. Often the subject of an error may be unaware that their right to privacy has been affected.


Our Inspectors will investigate potential serious errors.

A serious error is defined as having caused significant prejudice or harm to the person concerned.

The purpose of an investigation into a potentially serious error is:

  • to enable the Investigatory Powers Commissioner to consider whether the error has caused significant prejudice or harm and, if so, decide whether it is in the public interest to inform the person concerned; and
  • to review the cause of the error and make recommendations to prevent a recurrence.

Our Inspectors will examine all documentation and speak to those involved to find the cause of the error. A detailed report will be prepared and include recommendations where necessary for the attention of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner.

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal

If a serious error has occurred and it is in the public interest to do so, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner will write to the affected person and advise that they can apply to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal for right of remedy. Sufficient detail will be provided to enable them to exercise those rights.

If it chooses to do so, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal can request assistance from the Investigatory Powers Commissioner.

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