Compliance in Government

Compliance in Government

It’s hard to understand what’s happening inside Johnson’s Cabinet, but there has been much, mainly adverse comment on the appointment of Suella Braverman as Attorney General. The AG is the Government’s Lawyer and there have been great lawyers performing this role, in fact often, Government’s have made their chosen candidates members of the House of Lords so that they can get the talent they need without having to filter it through the choices of their local associations/CLPs. You can find comments about the suitability of Ms Braverman elsewhere, but many commentators are worried about the resuscitation of the Tory demand to leave the ECHR and the Home Office’s continued breaking of the law.

Human Rights law is written to protect people from the power of the state!

Another thing that worries me is that I have observed in business, the growing organisational dichotomy between legal departments and compliance. The former tells a company what it can do, and the latter what it can’t and grasses the company up if it believes itself to be in breach of the law. It’s important that Government, particularly the Home Office and DWP get good and safe advice from their legal team, especially if they plan to weaken access to judicial review.

Image Credit: from flickr, CC Marco Vetch 2018 BY …

Dignity and respect at work

I was writing a motion for GMB Congress on Bullying and came across this, from one of the ACAS codes, as part of the definition,

Everyone should be treated with dignity and respect at work

I thought that maybe there’s a human rights dimension so went to check out the European Convention on Human Rights since we are losing the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights which does include it. Nope! ECHR doesn’t! Well done! …

Freedom of Information

I have been looking at a couple of association/organisation constitutions, both of which have rules controlling the way in which some people, by which we mean those in a minority, can communicate information about the conduct of business to members and/or the public. On thinking about it, I wonder if these rules fall foul of the ECHR Article 10 rights, the freedom of speech right. While the US version is famous, and rightly so, it is much more explicit about speech and publication, the European version, talks of the right to receive information.

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

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Sovereignty

Sovereignty

I don’t think the facts around Human Rights and Sovereignty are being well exercised. I have just seen a post on Facebook where someone claimed that Britain was being ruled by the ECHR in Strasbourg. In the words of Captain Blackadder, there’s only one problem with this theory. I thought I’d put this right …

An act of misdirection

An act of misdirection

And so now the “Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill” is now law. The fallout from Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle pretty much drowned it out, but we need to ask how much of the rush towards the law is actually caused by the Euroscepticism of the Tory Party. The European law dimension will return to Parliament before the general election and the firing of the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve who may have been one of the chief obstacles inside the cabinet may have been a necessary step to securing the laws passage. They would have looked foolish having got the LinDems and Labour on board and failing to get the Attorney General.  What was the cause and what was the effect? …

Backdoors

Backdoors

Earlier this week, the Guardian in conjunction with its partner publishers, New York Times and ProPublica ran an article, Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security. As we’ll see, the title is a bit misleading, but the agencies certainly gave it their best shot. This story builds on the initial Snowden leaks that the NSA has been using computer technology to spy on everyone using the internet in the USA. The story rapidly came to the UK where it became clear that Britain’s GCHQ was tapping the UK/USA telecom links, sharing intelligence with the USA and providing the NSA with a slightly more legal way of spying on US citizens. There is little doubt that the US & UK’s intelligence agencies have outsourced their own domestic spying which is legally restricted to each other. …