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The Commissionerís statutory functions



In essence the Commissioner's role is to:

These functions are set out in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) as amended by the Justice and Security Act 2013.

Statutory Functions Continued
Keeping under review the adequacy of the Part III safeguards of RIPA arrangements in relation to the members of the intelligence services, and in relation to officials of the MOD and members of the armed forces in places other than Northern Ireland.
Giving the Investigatory Powers Tribunal all such assistance (including my opinion on any issue falling to be determined by it) as it may require in connection with its investigation, consideration or determination of any matter.
Making an annual report to the Prime Minister on the discharge of my functions, with such a report to be laid before Parliament.
Advising the Home Office on the propriety of extending the TPIM regime, part of the consultation process under section 21(3) of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011.
Keeping under review any other aspects of the functions of the intelligence services, or any part of HM Forces or the MOD engaging in intelligence activities, excepting interception of communications, when directed to do so by the Prime Minister.

Under the Justice and Security Act 2013 the Prime Minister can direct the Commissioner to keep under review any aspect of the functions of the Intelligence Services.

RIPA 2000 has been amended to reflect this:

Justice and Security Act 2013

59A Additional functions of the Intelligence Services Commissioner

  1. So far as directed to do so by the Prime Minister and subject to subsection (2), the Intelligence Services Commissioner must keep under review the carrying out of any aspect of the functions of -
    1. the intelligence services
    2. a head of an intelligence service, or
    3. any part of Her Majesty's forces, or the Ministry of Defence, so far as engaging in intelligence activity.
  2. Subsection (1) does not apply in relation to anything which is required to be kept under review by the Interception of Communications Commissioner or under section 59.
  3. The Prime Minister may give a direction under this section at the request of the Intelligence Services Commissioner or otherwise.
  4. Directions under this section may, for example, include directions to the Intelligence Services Commissioner to keep under review the implementation or effectiveness of particular policies of the head of an intelligence service regarding the carrying out of any of the functions of the intelligence service.
  5. The Prime Minister may publish, in a manner which the Prime Minister considers appropriate, any direction under this section (and any revocation of such a direction) except so far as it appears to the Prime Minister that such publication would be contrary to the public interest or prejudicial to -
    1. national security,
    2. the prevention or detection of serious crime,
    3. the economic well-being of the United Kingdom, or
    4. the continued discharge of the functions of any public authority whose activities include activities that are subject to review by the Intelligence Services Commissioner.
  6. In this section "head", in relation to an intelligence service, means -
    1. in relation to the Security Service, the Director-General,
    2. in relation to the Secret Intelligence Service, the Chief, and
    3. in relation to GCHQ, the Director.



Last updated: 21 Aug 14