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Covert Human Intelligence Source

Orkney Islands Council has produced a detailed policy and procedure for the operation of Covert Human Intelligence Source (CHIS) activities. The policy and procedure can be accessed from the 'More pages in this section' menu.

The Conduct of a Covert Human Intelligence Source (CHIS) Application Form is available in PDF format from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page.


In some circumstances, it may be necessary for Orkney Islands Council employees where evidence can't be obtained in any other way, in the course of their duties, to make use of informants and to conduct ‘undercover’ operations in a covert manner, i.e. without a person’s knowledge.

By their nature, actions of this sort may constitute an interference with that person’s right to privacy and may give rise to legal challenge as a potential breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998, “the right to respect for private and family life”.

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, RIPA, and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Scotland Act 2000, RIPSA, “the Acts” together provide, for the first time, a legal framework for use of Covert Human Intelligence Sources by public authorities and an independent inspection regime to monitor these activities.

The complete policy regarding Covert Human Intelligence Source is available as a PDF from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page.


The use of human beings to provide information, known as informants, is a valuable resource for the protection of the public and the maintenance of law and order. In order that local authorities and law enforcement agencies are able to discharge their responsibilities, use is made of 'undercover' officers and informants. These are referred to as 'covert human intelligence sources' or 'sources' and the area of work of undercover officers and informants to whom this procedure applies will be referred to as 'source work'.

The complete procedure Orkney Islands Council has developed for Covert Human Intelligence Sources is available as a PDF from the 'Related Downloads' section of this web page.