Further supplementary memorandum submitted
by the Home Office
Thank you for inviting me to give evidence to
the committee on 18 March. During my evidence session I was asked
to provide you with a note to clarify the timescales for the revision
of the RIPA codes and the two reviews which I mentioned during
the course of my evidence.
REVISED RIPA CODES
The Home Secretary in her statement to Parliament
on 21 February gave an undertaking to deliver a revised Covert
Surveillance and Covert Human Intelligence Sources Code of Practice
by December 2008.
The review of the Codes has already started.
A number of issues have been identified on which we will need
to consult with our stakeholder community to ensure both that
they have the powers that they require, and that appropriate oversight
mechanisms are in place without adding unnecessary bureaucracy.
The stakeholder community with an interest in surveillance activity
is wide ranging and includes law enforcement, intelligence agencies,
public authorities, the Office of Surveillance Commissioners,
the Information Commissioner, Law Society, Bar Council, prosecutors,
community groups and Human Right organisations. We intend to publish
the draft codes for consultation over the summer.
Both Codes are subject to the affirmative resolution
in both Houses, so we will be seeking to lay the revised codes
before Parliament in the Autumn.
In the first Home Office corporate strategy
for information, systems and technology published in February
2007 as part of the Reform Programme, Information Assurance was
recognised as one of the top cross-cutting thernes It will continue
to feature prominently in the updated strategy currently being
A review was initiated in August 2007 to assess
the current situation, establish any requirements for change and
identify any actions to be taken. This review was not initiated
in response to an incident or problem, but reflects the Home Office's
proactive approach to protecting information. The review is led
by a Government independent Reviewer, Nick Coleman, who recently
undertook a review of information assurance across government
for the Cabinet Office.
The first phase of the Home Office Information
Assurance Review has now been completed and resources have been
put in place within the Office of the CIO to implement the recommendations.
The next phase of the review is under way and it is estimated
that the full review and implementation will be completed by March
The Home Office, along with all other departments,
took part in the Cabinet Office review of Data Handling Procedures
in Government, announced by the Prime Minister on 22 November
and led by Robert Hannigan. This review has now produced a set
of mandatory standards and the Home Office is using the same Implementation
Programme to implement the requirements of both this and the Coleman
review. Early work on the implementation of the mandatory standards
has already begun and all implementation work is due to be completed
by the end of the 2008-09 Financial Year.
18 April 2008