HomeInsightsHome Office publishes Terms of Reference for an independent review of the operational case for bulk powers in the Investigatory Powers Bill.


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The Home Office says that the independent review will examine the operational case for the investigatory powers contained in Parts 6 and 7 of the Investigatory Powers Bill, including the “Operational Case for Bulk Powers” document, which was published alongside the Bill on 1 March 2016.

The review will report to the Prime Minister, with a copy sent to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC).  The review will inform Parliament’s consideration of the need for the bulk powers in the Bill.

The review shall consider the operational case for:

  1. Bulk Interception;
  2. Bulk Equipment Interference;
  3. Bulk Acquisition (Communications Data); and
  4. Bulk Personal Datasets.

The review will be undertaken by David Anderson QC, supported by a security-cleared barrister, technical expert and a person with experience of covert investigations.

The Government and the Security and Intelligence Agencies will provide all necessary information, access and assistance as is needed for David Anderson QC to undertake his review effectively.

The Prime Minister will make the final decision as to whether the report, or parts of it, can be published without prejudicing the ability of the Security and Intelligence Agencies to discharge their statutory functions.  To access the Terms of Reference document, click here.  For more information on the Bill and its progress, click here.