Annual and other reports

Part of Investigatory Powers Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 2:45 pm ar 28 Ebrill 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Shadow Minister (Home Office) 2:45, 28 Ebrill 2016

It is welcome that the Government have accepted and implemented recommendation 67 of the Joint Committee on the draft Bill, which was for the annual report to include information on the use and oversight of investigatory powers. However, it is disappointing that there is no provision to require the number of errors to be included in the annual report. A moment ago, in resisting an amendment to a previous clause, the Minister said that the errors could be included in the report; perhaps that should be a requirement under the clause—just the number of errors, of course, not the details. Similarly, there is no requirement for the number of requested authorisations to be reported. That information is vital in gauging the proportion of requests that are granted; without it, the stringency of the double lock cannot realistically be assessed.

The amendments would require that the report be made directly to Parliament and would tighten up clause 201(7), which is very similar to the clause we were looking at a moment ago. Like previous amendments, amendment 804 would leave out the words

“contrary to the public interest or” and would tighten the test by replacing “prejudicial” with “seriously prejudicial”. Amendment 805 is consistent with previous amendments in that it would remove our old friend “economic wellbeing” from the clause. Amendment 807 speaks for itself.

The annual reporting provisions are a step in the right direction; we acknowledge that the Government have taken action as a result of the Joint Committee’s recommendations. We have tabled these amendments to suggest that more could be included in the report, that the reporting should be directly to Parliament and that exclusion from publication should be subject to a stricter test than the one currently set out in clause 201.