Effective oversight requires independent bodies to have sufficient resources, powers and competences. Oversight bodies must also work together to ensure all aspects of the work of intelligence services is covered. They must also make greater efforts to be transparent to allow for public scrutiny.
All 28 Member States include at least one independent body in the oversight of intelligence. While interviewees from oversight bodies confirmed that their institutions are independent and impartial, some academics and civil society respondents questioned this.
Effective oversight also calls for proper coordination between the various oversight bodies to ensure that all aspects of the work of intelligence services are covered. If oversight bodies do not have a clear, comprehensive understanding of the work of the entire national intelligence community, all areas of their work will not be covered and gaps in oversight will result. This hinders the effectiveness of the oversight system.
Oversight bodies in all five Member States with detailed legal provisions on general surveillance of communications can initiate their own controls. However, in only three do they have some form of binding powers (Germany, Sweden and the UK).
All Member States also provide at least one of their oversight bodies with full access to all relevant data and information. However, lack of technical expertise remains one of the biggest challenges.
While transparency is improving, partly through the publication of annual reports, some considered the information in such reports uninformative.
When it comes to authorisation of targeted surveillance measures, 22 Member States include an independent authority - judicial or expert in the process (See Table 4 in report). In six Member States, all types of targeted surveillance may be implemented without ex ante oversight by an independent body. Only three of the five Member States that have detailed provisions on general surveillance of communications, must involve an independent body in authorising such measures (See Table 5 in report). However, in all five Member States, an independent body oversees the implementation) of these measures.