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RIPSA: Regulation of Investigatory Powers Scotland Act

The RIPSA legislation was introduced to regulate the surveillance of a person or persons and to regulate information obtained from third parties when the subject of the activity is not aware of either the surveillance or information gathering.

Orkney Islands Council would be involved in such information gathering, amongst others, for the detection of a crime, a possible breach of legislation or a potential breach of tenancy agreements.

Orkney Islands Council have adopted Policy and Procedures on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Scotland Act 2000 (RIPSA) for all services involved to follow. The OIC Policy and Procedures and necessary forms for Authorisation of Covert Surveillance or Directed Surveillance and OIC Policy and Procedures for Authorisation of the Use of Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) can be accessed from the 'More pages in this section' menu.

Making a Complaint

Anyone who feels the Council has acted improperly in carrying out their responsibilities or who feels their essential human rights have been infringed can register a complaint with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. Go to their website and click on 'Complaints'.


The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Scotland Act 2000 and Human Rights Act 1998

The principal legislation introduced in the wake of the Human Rights Act 1998 is the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Scotland Act 2000. It only includes passing references to other legislation, which will need to be considered, including the Human Rights Act 1998. Separate guidance has been provided on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 or RIPA.

In Scotland, RIPSA deals with covert surveillance issues, intrusive and directed surveillance and the use and conduct of covert human intelligence sources. It took effect from 2 October 2000. However, Parts I, III and IV of RIPA will also apply in Scotland. There are formal authorisation procedures and two codes of practices, which public authorities should comply with. RIPSA provides a statutory basis to safeguard against challenges under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and creates a system of authorisations for various types of surveillance and the conduct and use of covert human intelligence sources.

In common with other Parts of the Act, the provisions themselves do not impose a requirement on public authorities to seek or obtain an authorisation where, under the Act, one is available, see section 30 RIPSA. Nevertheless, the consequences of not obtaining an authorisation under this Part may be, where there is interference by a public authority with Article 8 rights and there is no other source of authority, that the action is unlawful by virtue of section 6 of the HRA.


The Council is inspected regularly by an Inspector from the Office of Surveillance Commissioners. Accessing communications data is currently covered by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Communications Data Order 2003 SI 3172. This deals with England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Further information may be found on the Home Office website with a draft code of practice for accessing communications data, use the quick search for communications data.

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School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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