The IGIS undertakes regular inspections of a range of operational activities to check the compliance and procedures of intelligence agencies. Inspections are a critical element of the IGIS’s role to provide independent assurance that Australia’s intelligence agencies are acting with legality, propriety and appropriate regard for human rights. Inspections enable the IGIS to monitor activities of intelligence agencies and to identify concerns before they develop into systemic problems that could require major remedial action.
Inspections are focused on activities that present a legality, propriety or human rights risk. Inspections may consider a sample of operations or may be targeted at a particular issue. In conducting any inspection the IGIS has full access to information held by Australian intelligence agencies.
Each year the IGIS has a comprehensive program of inspections across intelligence agencies, which cover activities such as:
- monitoring agency compliance with relevant legislation,
- reviewing documents for warrants,
- reviewing the basis for agency investigative activities,
- sampling agency access to, and use of sensitive data,
- reviewing ministerial authorisations,
- reviewing the application of privacy rules and guidelines (which concern the retention and passage of information about Australian persons),
- reviewing operational files, and
- reviewing internal agency guidelines, training and approval processes for certain activities.
A summary of the most recent inspection outcomes for intelligence agencies is provided below. Yearly inspection summaries are included in the IGIS annual report.
2018-19 summary of inspection outcomes