Independent Police Complaints Commission

The Minister for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice (Mike Penning): I am pleased to announce that today my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and I are publishing the annual report of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) (HC 286). Copies of the report have been laid before the House and will be available in the Vote Office.

This is the 11th annual report from the IPCC, covering their work during 2014/15. In this period the, IPCC have made significant progress as they expand towards taking on all serious and sensitive cases by 2017. They have taken on more staff, restructured their operational work and have more than doubled the number of independent investigations taken on. At the same time they have eliminated their appeals backlog and closed more investigations than in any previous year. Progress continues to be made on the Hillsborough investigations and the IPCC are working towards increasing public confidence having developed their oversight and confidence strategy and responded to the Government’s consultation on police discipline and complaints.

As well as covering the police, the annual report also includes a section on the discharge of their responsibilities in respect of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.


Justice and Home Affairs Council

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): An informal meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council took place on 9 and 10 July in Luxembourg. I attended on the Interior day (9 July), and the UK was represented by senior officials on the Justice day (10 July). The following items were discussed.

The Interior day began with a discussion on counter terrorism, including a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the recent attacks in Tunisia and France.

Member states highlighted the serious and diverse nature of the terrorist threat and the role of social media and technology. One member state called for greater exchange of counter terrorist intelligence at EU rather than national level. Most, however, emphasised the national rather than EU nature of intelligence sharing in this area. A number of member states also called on the European Parliament to make progress on the passenger name records (PNR) directive.

I spoke of the recent cowardly attack in Tunisia, the need for member states to help that country and the importance of the EU providing funding to assist with that effort. I stressed that national security is a matter solely for member states. I also called on member states to engage with their MEPs ahead of the European Parliament vote on the PNR directive.

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The meeting then received a number of presentations on cyber security and terrorism. The Commission highlighted the role of Europol and the importance of public-private partnerships. It also stressed the work it was doing at EU level to protect critical national infrastructure.

The informal Council then moved on to migration issues. The Presidency announced that member states (together with participants in the Schengen system who are not EU members) had agreed to resettle approximately 20,000 refugees from outside the EU, following the Commission’s recent recommendation.

I explained that the UK expects to resettle approximately 2,200 people in need of international protection over the next two years, and that this includes a modest expansion of our Syria vulnerable persons scheme. I emphasised that the actual number would be needs based rather than target driven, and that we would decide for ourselves how many people to resettle. The UK will not participate in any European resettlement scheme or in any EU quota system for resettlement.

Discussions then took place on implementing the June European Council’s decision to relocate 40,000 migrants from Italy and Greece to other member states on a voluntary basis. These discussions will resume at a special JHA Council meeting in Brussels on 20 July. The UK will not participate in this relocation scheme.

In the migration discussions, I highlighted the need for a holistic approach to the situation which avoided creating additional pull factors. I also emphasised the UK’s support for the Europol JOT- MARE regional task force to tackle the migrant smugglers and traffickers.

Justice day began with a discussion of the draft Directive on the protection of the Union’s financial interests under criminal law (“PIF Directive”). The Presidency sought member states’ views on whether fraud affecting VAT should be included within the scope either of the Directive or of the proposed European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). This issue has led to stalemate in negotiations between the Council and European Parliament.

The overwhelming majority of member states opposed the inclusion of VAT in the scope of the PIF Directive, though some were willing to explore including it within the proposed EPPO. The UK opposed its inclusion in either measure, while making it clear that we will not participate in any EPPO.

Discussion then moved to the proposed EPPO itself. The Presidency sought member states’ views on the authorisations that should be required from national courts before the EPPO can commence cross-border investigations, and the competence of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to rule on the EPPO’s procedural acts. The majority of participating member states agreed that authorisation from the courts in one member state should be sufficient for cross-border investigations, and that the ECJ should have some limited jurisdiction over the proposed EPPO.

This was followed by discussion on the Brussels IIa Regulation on conflict of law issues in family law, where the Presidency invited member states to comment on priorities for the Commission’s forthcoming proposals. The Presidency proposed that the revision should focus on the aspects of the Regulation relating to children, and should cover the free circulation of judgments, the

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procedure for an effective and swift return of abducted children, and co-operation between central authorities. The Commission, the European Parliament and the fundamental rights agency highlighted the importance of this measure, particularly in the protection of vulnerable children.

While there was overwhelming support for the revision of the Regulation, including the proposed areas of focus, there was no consensus on the abolition of the process by which judgments or orders from one member state are declared enforceable in another (the exequatur procedure). It was agreed by all that the best interests of the child must be paramount in decisions on return, and member states supported better co operation between central authorities. The UK highlighted the need to respect different legal systems, and the importance of safeguards in any revision. The UK also highlighted that improvements could be made in relation to divorce proceedings. The Presidency concluded that the discussion had shown the usefulness of Brussels IIa and that the revision should provide more legal certainty, with the interests of the child at the centre.

Under any other business, the Commission set out its intentions on handling infringement proceedings in respect of EU legislation on judicial co operation in criminal matters. The Commission noted that many instruments were still not fully transposed or the information submitted by member states was incomplete. It would therefore be proactive in taking further action in the autumn, including with pilot cases for non-notification and non-compliance.


Police Remuneration

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): The first report of the Police Remuneration Review Body was published today. In line with my letter setting the body’s remit, it has made recommendations on pay and allowances for police officers up to and including the rank of chief superintendent in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In addition, the first supplement to the 2015 report of the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) making recommendations on the pay of chief police officers has also been published today. I have considered the recommendations of both reports insofar as they relate to police officers in England and Wales.

I have accepted in full the recommendations of the PRRB. I have also accepted the main recommendations of the SSRB. These will be implemented with effect from 1 September 2015 as follows:

a 1% increase to base pay for all ranks.

a 1% increase to the London weighting payment.

a 1% cent increase to the dog handlers’ allowance.

The proposals are consistent with necessary pay restraint, targeting increases within a 1% average award, balanced with the need to recruit and retain the very best officers.

I wish to express my thanks to the chairman and members of both review bodies for their work on these reports. I am grateful for their observations about the longer term view of police pay and we will continue to work with both bodies and with other partners to ensure that the evidence base is as clear as possible.

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The Police Remuneration Review Body report (Cm 9085) and the supplement to the Senior Salaries Review Body report (Cm 9080) have both been laid before the House and copies are available in the Vote Office. The reports are also available to view on


Undercover Policing

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): On 12 March 2015, I made a statement to the House announcing the establishment of the statutory inquiry into undercover policing and the appointment of Lord Justice Pitchford as its Chairman. The inquiry is to be undertaken by Lord Justice Pitchford alone as Chairman. I also said that my officials would consult Pitchford LJ and those with an interest in the inquiry over the coming months on setting the terms of reference, with a view to making a further statement as soon as possible after Parliament resumes.

This has now taken place and the terms of reference for the undercover policing inquiry are:


To inquire into and report on undercover police operations conducted by English and Welsh police forces in England and Wales since 1968 and, in particular, to:

investigate the role and the contribution made by undercover policing towards the prevention and detection of crime;

examine the motivation for, and the scope of, undercover police operations in practice and their effect upon individuals in particular and the public in general;

ascertain the state of awareness of undercover police operations of Her Majesty’s Government;

identify and assess the adequacy of the:

1. justification, authorisation, operational governance and oversight of undercover policing;

2. selection, training, management and care of undercover police officers;

identify and assess the adequacy of the statutory, policy and judicial regulation of undercover policing.

Miscarriages of justice

The inquiry’s investigations will include a review of the extent of the duty to make, during a criminal prosecution, disclosure of an undercover police operation and the scope for miscarriage of justice in the absence of proper disclosure.

The inquiry will refer to a panel, consisting of senior members of the Crown Prosecution Service and the police, the facts of any case in respect of which it concludes that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred as a result of an undercover police operation or its non disclosure. The panel will consider whether further action is required, including but not limited to, referral of the case to the Criminal Cases Review Commission.


The inquiry’s investigation will include, but not be limited to, whether and to what purpose, extent and effect undercover police operations have targeted political and social justice campaigners.

The inquiry’s investigation will include, but not be limited to, the undercover operations of the special demonstration squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit.

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For the purpose of the inquiry, the term “undercover police operations” means the use by a police force of a police officer as a covert human intelligence source (CHIS) within the meaning of section 26(8) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, whether before or after the commencement of that Act. The terms “undercover police officer”, “undercover policing”, “undercover police activity” should be understood accordingly. It includes operations conducted through online media.

The inquiry will not examine undercover or covert operations conducted by any body other than an English or Welsh police force.


The inquiry will examine and review all documents as the inquiry chairman shall judge appropriate.

The inquiry will receive such oral and written evidence as the inquiry chairman shall judge appropriate.


The inquiry will report to the Home Secretary as soon as practicable. The report will make recommendations as to the future deployment of undercover police officers. It is anticipated that the inquiry report will be delivered up to three years after the publication of these terms of reference.

In addition, Mark Ellison QC has submitted his review “Possible miscarriages of justice: impact of undisclosed undercover police activity on the safety of convictions” (HC 291) to the Attorney General. I have today laid the report before the House and copies are available from the Vote Office and on


International Development

Annual Report and Accounts

The Secretary of State for International Development (Justine Greening): I have today published and laid before Parliament the Department for International Development’s Annual Report and Accounts for the year 2014-15.

The report provides information on DFID’s activities during 2014-15 in line with the International Development (Reporting and Transparency) Act 2006 and includes a full set of accounts for 2014-15. The report will be placed in the Libraries of the House of Commons and House of Lords for the reference of Members and copies will be made available in the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office. It is also available online at:


Development Capital

The Secretary of State for International Development (Justine Greening): I am pleased to announce that I have agreed with my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Greg Hands MP) to inject new capital into CDC Group plc—the UK’s development finance institution—to create jobs, boost growth and in doing so help end aid dependency across the developing world.

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A new investment of £735 million over the next three years represents the first capital injection the Government have made into CDC in 20 years.

It will place CDC’s investment expertise at the vanguard of our efforts to eradicate global poverty by creating jobs, long term economic growth, better access to basic services and increased tax revenues in developing countries.

This is not only the right thing to do, it is firmly in Britain’s own economic interest as it will help build future markets for British and other businesses to compete in.

Our new investment will allow CDC to support many more businesses throughout Africa and South Asia, building on its already considerable successes. CDC’s latest annual review, published last month, showed that CDC’ backed business have helped create nearly 1.3 million direct and indirect jobs in developing countries last year, while the companies in which CDC invests in Africa and South Asia paid more than £1.5 billion in local taxes.

This investment comes at a crucial time. There remains a considerable shortfall of investment capital across the developing world, particularly in countries and sectors where there are higher levels of risk. This is stifling the potential of promising businesses and keeping countries locked into poverty. Estimates for total investment needs in developing countries range from £2.1 trillion to £2.8 trillion every year.

We know that CDC is ready to take on this challenge. The changes the Government made to CDC in the last Parliament have ensured CDC’s support is now targeted to countries and investments where it is needed most and where it can have the greatest impact. CDC will target job-creating sectors in areas where the shortage of capital is particularly acute and the investment climate is challenging.

In time, this new capital will be redeployed as successful investments deliver financial returns back to CDC to be reinvested in further promising businesses, making every pound go even further in delivering development impact.

This investment is an important element of my Department’s strategy to end aid dependency through job creation, economic growth and tax generation, and will form part of the £1.8 billion we will spend on economic development this financial year. There is clear evidence to show that economic development is the only way we can ultimately defeat poverty. Wherever long-term per capita growth is higher than three per cent, poverty falls significantly.

No single Government or donor can solve this problem. The finance needed to achieve the new sustainable development goals is estimated by the UN at approximately £1.6 trillion every year, but current investment levels are less than half of that.

The Financing for Development Conference, which concludes today in Addis Ababa, has shown global recognition of the importance of public money leveraging private investment. CDC will play an important role in making this happen.

Britain is a nation that stands tall in the world. This new investment will ensure the best of British expertise in finance, development and investment can create a more prosperous world and make a real and lasting difference to people’s lives. This is the right and the

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smart thing to do, as we help countries to end poverty while building markets that British businesses can benefit from in frontier and emerging markets.



Chief Coroner's Annual Report

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities and Family Justice (Caroline Dinenage): I am pleased to lay and publish the Chief Coroner’s second annual report to the Lord Chancellor, under section 36 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (“the 2009 Act”).

The report covers the Chief Coroner’s work in 2014 and the first half of 2015 and is his second annual summary of the operation of coroner services following the 2009 Act’s reforms which went live on 25 July 2013.

In particular the Chief Coroner’s report sets out:

His work to promote consistency in the resourcing of and practices in coroner offices across England and Wales;

The training and guidance he has facilitated for coroners and their officers, supported by stakeholder events for local authorities and bereavement support organisations;

His plans for the coming year to improve services further.

His Honour Judge Thornton QC has continued to develop the excellent work set out in his first annual report as Chief Coroner, which was published a year ago.

I am very grateful to Judge Thornton for building on his first year’s achievements so effectively. I am grateful too, to coroners and their officers and other staff, for having supported the Chief Coroner to improve services for bereaved people.

I look forward to working with the Chief Coroner in the coming year.

Copies of the report will be available in the Vote Office and in the Printed Paper Office. The document will also be available online at:


Victims Code

The Minister for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice (Mike Penning): The previous Government updated the code of practice for victims of crime (the Victims’ Code) in 2013 to give victims clear entitlements—including the right to ask to read their personal statement to the court—and to give greater flexibility to core criminal justice agencies to tailor services according to individual need. We are investing more than ever before in services and support for victims of crime but we can, and should, do more.

We have said that we will introduce measures to further increase the rights of victims of crime and we will publish draft clauses in due course.

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Before we do so, I am pleased to announce that the Government are consulting on some additional changes we plan to make to the Victims’ Code as part of our commitment to implement the EU Victims’ directive by 16 November 2015.

It is crucial that the needs of victims of crime are put first and the proposed changes will entitle more victims to receive services from a bigger number of organisations.

The first main change we propose is to broaden our definition of a victim so that victims of all criminal offences are entitled to receive support and information under the Victims’ Code. Currently, victims of offences such as careless driving and drink driving are not entitled to receive such support and we propose to close this gap.

The second main change is to extend the Victims’ Code to apply to relevant agencies outside the core criminal justice system who provide services to victims of crime. Most crimes are dealt with by the police and Crown Prosecution Service but there are other organisations with powers to investigate and prosecute. I want to make sure that the victims of crime these agencies deal with are eligible to receive services under the Victims’ Code.

The third main change will entitle victims who report a crime to the police or other competent authority to receive a written acknowledgement which states the basic elements of the criminal offence concerned.

We are also proposing to make a number of smaller amendments to the Code, mostly to clarify it in places or to reflect more accurately what happens in practice.

The consultation documents have been published today and can be found on the Ministry of Justice website at:

A copy of the consultation document and draft Victims’ Code have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.


HM Courts and Tribunals Service

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Shailesh Vara): On 23 June 2015 the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice announced his intention to work with the judiciary to reform the courts and tribunals in England and Wales. Reform will bring quicker and fairer access to justice and create a justice system that reflects the way people use services today.

Progress towards a modernised service is already being made. Wi-fi and digital screens have been introduced into many court buildings and a digital case management system for the administration of criminal cases is well under way.

This is encouraging progress, but more needs to be done. There is a broad consensus that the current system is unsustainable and that we have an opportunity to create a modern, more user-focused and efficient service.

Increased use of technology such as video, telephone and online conferencing will help drive these improvements. Straightforward, transactional matters, such as paying a fine and obtaining probate can be dealt with using digital technology to make the processes as straightforward

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as filing a tax return. Many straightforward cases do not need face to face hearings which should be reserved for the most sensitive or complex cases.

We can only provide better access to justice if we take difficult decisions to reduce the cost of our estate and reinvest the savings. As the Secretary of State told Parliament, this means,

“a significant number of additional courts will have to close.”—[Official Report, 23 June 2015; Vol. 597, c. 755.]

I am today announcing a consultation on the closure of 91 courts and tribunals in England and Wales. I am also announcing the integration of 31 courts and tribunals in England and Wales.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service operates 460 courts and tribunal hearing centres across England and Wales. The estate costs taxpayers around half a billion pounds each year, and at present, it is underused. Last year over a third of all courts and tribunals were empty for more than 50% of their available hearing time.

Today’s consultation puts forward proposals that aim to reduce this surplus capacity. The buildings being consulted on represent 16% of hearing rooms across the estate which are, on average, used for only a third of their available time. That is equivalent to fewer than two out of five days in a week.

The majority of these courts are not used for at least two thirds of their available time, and one in three is not used three quarters of the time.

Attending court is rare for most people. It will still be the case that, after these changes, over 95% of citizens will be able to reach their required court within an hour by car. This represents a change of just 1 percentage point for Crown and magistrates’ courts and 2 percentage points for county courts. The proportion of citizens able to reach a tribunal within an hour by car will remain unchanged at 83%.

To ensure that access to justice is maintained, even in more rural locations, we are committed to providing alternative ways for users to access our services. That can mean using civic and other public buildings, such as town halls, for hearings instead of underused, poorly maintained permanent courts.

We are reforming the courts and tribunal service so that it meets the needs of modern day users.

As we bring in digital technology for better and more efficient access to justice, fewer people will need to physically be in a court.

This means that we will need fewer buildings, and with many already underused and in poor quality, now is a good time to review the estate.

The consultation will begin on Thursday 16 July and run for 12 weeks. A response to consultation will be published following proper consideration of all views submitted.

A copy of the consultation will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


Judicial Conduct Investigations Office

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Michael Gove): With the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice, I will today publish the second annual

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report of the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO). The JCIO provides support to the Lord Chief Justice and myself in our joint responsibility for the system of judicial complaints and discipline.

Over the past year the JCIO received 2432 complaints and 613 written enquiries, with 75 complaints resulting in disciplinary action. A first substantive response was provided within 15 working days in 98% of all cases and regular monthly updates given to all parties in 97% of cases.

Copies of the report are available in the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. Copies of the report are also available on the internet at: judiciary.htm.


Prison Communications Inquiry

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Andrew Selous): On 11 November 2014, the previous Justice Secretary made a statement about the apparent recording and monitoring of confidential communications between a prisoner and their Member of Parliament (MP). It was thought that the communications between prisoners and 32 MPs had been monitored by prison staff. Nick Hardwick, HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, was therefore asked to conduct an independent investigation into this issue.

Today, the final investigation report is published. The report concludes that there is no evidence of deliberate or widespread attempts to monitor confidential communications with MPs. The monitoring which is believed to have taken place was in the main conducted in error and in ignorance of the rules. Concerns highlighted by HMCIP about failure to follow correct procedures in specific cases are being investigated by NOMS.

I wish to apologise to the House on behalf of the Ministry of Justice for the monitoring which is believed to have taken place. Prisoners and hon. Members should rightly expect these conversations to be confidential.

While I am content that the recording of these communications was done in error rather than by intent, it is unacceptable that this issue was not identified sooner. Since discovering this, we have taken urgent steps to ensure that prison officers have the correct training and processes in place to make sure this will not happen in future.

HMCIP makes 19 recommendations, which have all been accepted. These are aimed at improving levels of understanding among staff and prisoners, ensuring greater consistency in procedures across the whole prison estate, and better systems of governance so that problems are identified sooner.

Since the issue first came to light, NOMS has taken effective steps to ensure that there can be no recording of telephone calls from prisoners to their MP. This was an important first step to provide reassurance both to prisoners and MPs that their communications were confidential.

In response to this report, NOMS will now undertake further work to introduce revised policy and training for staff. NOMS will also revise the information provided

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to prisoners so that they better understand their responsibilities to identify phone numbers, including their MPs, which are confidential. Checks will be introduced to ensure that any human error is picked up sooner and dealt with promptly.

Recommendations to improve the prisoner telephone system are reflected in the plans for a new prisoner telephony contract, which is due to be let next year. In the meantime, NOMS will work with the current telephone provider to see if any further short terms solutions can be introduced.

NOMS meets regularly with the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office (IOCCO), who carry out an inspection process and work will be undertaken to see if more can be done to identify errors through the inspection process.

I want to assure Members that NOMS will learn from the criticism and past mistakes to ensure that there is absolute confidence in the future that confidential communications are guaranteed.


Data Protection

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Dominic Raab): My noble Friend the Minister of State for Civil Justice, Lord Faulks QC, attended the Justice and Home Affairs Council on 16 June, where a general approach was agreed on the general data protection regulation. Notwithstanding serious concerns, the UK voted in favour of the general approach, with a view to mitigating the negative implications of the text during the subsequent trilogue discussion, and without prejudice to our decision on the final outcome of negotiations.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, provided a written ministerial statement on 23 June. This updated the House that the UK supported the general approach on the General Data Protection Regulation Council text as a basis for negotiations with the European Parliament. It is with regret that I am informing you of a scrutiny override on this dossier because the Commons Scrutiny Committee had not yet been formed when the Justice and Home Affairs Council took place.


Information Commissioner

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Dominic Raab): On Tuesday 25 November 2014 the triennial review of the Information Commissioner’s Office was announced in Parliament. The review was publicised on my Department’s website and stakeholders were invited to contribute through a call for evidence. I am grateful to all who contributed to the triennial review. I wish to inform the House that it will not be ready for publication before the recess but Ministers will write to the Select Committee when it is published. It will also be available online and placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Dominic Raab): My noble Friend the Minister of State for Civil Justice has made the following written statement.

“In response to widespread concerns about the high number of whiplash claims and the impact they have on the price of motor insurance premiums, the Government have recently implemented a whiplash reform programme. A key component of these reforms was the introduction of an independent IT Portal for the sourcing of medical reports. All initial medical reports used in support of whiplash claims must be obtained through the new portal which is operated by MedCo Registration Solutions (MedCo) an independent industry led not for profit company. The new system makes sure that solicitors are no longer able to obtain a report from an organisation with whom they have a financial link, while maintaining competition between MROs in the market.

The Government committed to undertake a review once six months worth of useable data were available. However, since the Portal went live on 6 April 2015, issues relating to a number of new business practices within this sector have emerged which have the potential to undermine the Government’s policy objectives and public confidence in the MedCo Portal.

Today, therefore, I would like to confirm that the Government are bringing their planned review forward and I invite all stakeholders in the personal injury sector to participate in the public call for evidence which will form a key part of the review process. The review will specifically seek evidence on whether the MedCo IT Portal meets the Government’s objectives, and the evidence provided will be analysed to identify whether changes need to be made to the portal or to the framework of rules underpinning it in order to achieve those objectives.

The Government seek views from stakeholders across the medico-legal reporting services sector in respect of whiplash claims, including representatives from the claimant lawyer, medical and insurance sectors. A report with recommendations for action—if required—will be published in the autumn.

Copies of the Call for Evidence have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The document is also available online at:”


Prime Minister

Interception of Communications Commissioner

The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): I have today laid before both Houses copies of the half-yearly report from the Interception of Communications Commissioner, the right hon. Sir Anthony May, who is appointed by me to keep under review the compliance by public authorities with part 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000. Section 6 of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) 2014 requires the Commissioner to report on a six monthly basis.

The report includes details on progress of the implementation of DRIPA, the findings of the Commissioner’s investigation into the serious communications data errors which he identified in his March 2015 report, his oversight of directions issued under section 94 of the Telecommunications Act 1984 and various issues relating to the revised acquisition

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and disclosure of communications data code of practice. The Commissioner finds that two police forces have acquired communications data to identify the interactions between journalists and their sources in two investigations without obtaining judicial approval, in breach of the code of practice introduced in March this year. This was a serious error. The Commissioner’s investigation into these cases is not yet complete. I look forward to receiving more information about them in the next report.

I am grateful to the Commissioner for identifying and detailing the 17 serious communications data errors and for making recommendations to reduce the chances of similar errors occurring in the future. Any error is regrettable and particularly these serious errors that the Commissioner identified. The oversight and scrutiny provided by the Commissioner plays an important role

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in minimising the chances of errors occurring and ensuring that appropriate steps are taken when they do.

I am also grateful to Sir Anthony and his office for producing another clear, thorough and detailed report. I hope this report will play a part in better informing the continuing debate about the role of the security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies, their use of investigatory powers and their oversight. This is Sir Anthony’s last report as Commissioner. I would like to thank him for his important work over the past few years which has been exemplary.

Attachments can be viewed online at: