If you read the judgment it says:
“Directed surveillance under RIPA is carried out by public authorities which
are responsible for the discharge of the specific public functions and are
equipped with investigatory powers for the performance of those functions.
Directed surveillance by specified public authorities can only be
authorised on specified grounds. Those grounds are linked to the specific
public functions of the public authority and vary according to the functions
of the particular public authority.”
“The specific core functions and the regulatory powers which go with them
are identifiable as distinct from the ordinary functions of public
authorities shared by all authorities, such as the employment of staff and
the making of contracts.
There is no real reason why the performance of the ordinary functions of a
public authority should fall within the RIPA regime, which is concerned with
the regulation of certain investigatory powers, not with the regulation of
employees or of suppliers and service providers.”
RIPA is there to regulate surveillance done for the purpose of criminal
offences suspected in relation to regulatory functions of each specific
authority (see para 2 above). So for councils it is trading standards, env.
heath etc. Schools admissions does not fit into this category.
Many councils have told me that the Surveillance Commissioners agree with
this interpretation of this case although they have not said anything about
schools admissions being a core or regulatory function.
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