What does the IGIS do
What does the IGIS do
The IGIS is an independent statutory office that is completely separate from the government. The IGIS is responsible for oversight of the activities of the intelligence and security agencies, the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).
The IGIS’ work involves:
Investigating complaints about the NZSIS and the GCSB
Conducting inquiries and reviews into the activities of the agencies
Reviewing all warrants and authorisations issued to the intelligence and security agencies
Receiving protected disclosures relating to classified information or the activities of the intelligence and security agencies
Providing advice on matters relating to oversight of the intelligence and security agencies, including input into the development of relevant government policy
How does the IGIS work
The Inspector-General will generally conduct an inquiry if a matter requires in-depth investigation, such as interviewing witnesses. The IGIS may also decide to conduct an inquiry into a complaint received about the agencies.
A review will generally be less formal than an inquiry and will usually involve the IGIS selecting an area of an agency’s work for examination and assessment. “Baseline reviews” are aimed at developing an understanding of the agencies’ operations for potential focus in the future.
A classified report is produced at the end of an inquiry or review and provided to the relevant agency and the Minister responsible for the agency. The report may include findings and recommendations about actions that the IGIS considers the agencies should take. A public report will also usually be prepared that does not involve classified information, for publication on the IGIS website.
The IGIS has extensive powers to obtain information and documents. This includes a right of entry to the premises of the intelligence and security agencies and access to most of the records systems of the agencies.
The IGIS reviews all warrants and authorisations issued to the agencies. These allow the agencies to conduct activities that would otherwise be unlawful, such as covert searches and interception. The IGIS may conduct a deeper review into an authorisation where particular issues have been identified.
The IGIS publishes a work programme in July each year, which sets out the inquiries and reviews that are planned for the year ahead. The work programme is published on the IGIS website. The results of a work programme are also discussed in the IGIS annual reports.