A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed by Andrew Rennison, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, and Christopher Graham, the Information Commissioner, outlining means of cooperation between their respective offices.
The agreement was signed on 23 October 2013.
Announcing the memorandum, the SCC’s website notes, “The 2 commissioners recognise the value in working together. They have a good working relationship that has grown during the development of the surveillance camera code of practice, this MoU cements that relationship as they continue to work together in their respective roles.”
The purpose of the MoU is to “clarify the relationship between the Information Commissioner and the Surveillance Camera Commissioner in the performance of their respective functions under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIRs)and the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (PoFA).”
The MoU states that the two commissioners are committed to working together to ensure the effective regulation of surveillance camera systems.
In terms of legal and political influence, the Information Commissioner far outweighs the SCC, having a significantly larger staff and budget and the ability to compel people to comply with information law. By contrast, the SCC can only act in an advisory capacity to encourage compliance with the SCC code of practice.
In the MoU, the two commissioners have agreed to share information that comes into their possession that may pertain to the other’s domain. For instance, if the SCC would share information about potential breaches of the Data Protection Act should he become aware of it during the course of his work.
The commissioners, who both produce codes of practice with regard to the use of CCTV and other types of surveillance cameras, pledge to minimise conflicts and overlap between their respective codes.
They will meet at least once a year to discuss areas of mutual concern and to assess the effectiveness of the MoU and their methods of sharing information.
The Information Commissioner will have a seat on the SCC’s advisory group and the commissioners will work together to produce information for the public and interest groups.
Memorandum of understanding: Surveillance Camera Commissioner and Information Commissioner (UK government website)