Disclosure Protocol

Background and Aims
How the Inquiry will treat information received
Provision of Documents
Legal Professional Privilege
Classified Material
Public disclosure process
Redaction Process
Personal data
Other data
Ongoing Prosecutions, Proceedings, Investigations and Complaints
Conclusion of the Inquiry’s work

  1. This Protocol sets out the arrangements for disclosure to the Angiolini Inquiry; a non-statutory inquiry which is tasked with the following:
    1. Part 1: establishing a comprehensive account of the career of the killer of Sarah Everard, to identify any missed opportunities and to make recommendations based on the findings; and
    2. Part 2: investigating what further, broader, issues arise for policing and the protection of women, informed by the findings from Part 1 (“the Inquiry”).
    3. The Inquiry is being chaired by Lady Elish Angiolini LT DBE PC KC.
  1. The Terms of Reference for Part 1 of the Inquiry are available here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/angiolini-inquiry-part-1-terms-of-reference.
  1. In this Protocol:
    1. “Document” means anything in which information of any description is recorded. It may (depending on context) include, but is not limited to, policy documents, copies of statements, pocket notebooks, policy statements, audio recordings, video footage, information stored electronically on computer systems, meeting notes and minutes, manuscript notes, memoranda, reports, spreadsheets, correspondence (post and/or fax), internal and external email communications, and social media communications and data.
    2. “Document Provider” (DP) means any person, institution or organisation, which has been asked to provide documents to the Inquiry or which has provided documents voluntarily to the Inquiry.
  2. This Protocol applies to the provision of documents by all organisations and individuals from whom the Inquiry requests, and receives, disclosure. This includes, but is not limited to, the following DPs: Metropolitan Police Service, Kent Police, Civil Nuclear Constabulary, Thames Valley Police, Ministry of Defence, Home Office, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, Crown Prosecution Service, and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.
  1. This protocol will apply to both Part 1 and Part 2 of the Inquiry. The procedures outlined below are not intended to cover every eventuality or every procedural issue that may arise. It follows that, where the interests of justice and fairness require it, the Inquiry may need to depart from this Protocol. Further, this Protocol may be amended from time to time, in which case an amended version will be published on the Inquiry website. Any amendments will pay due regard to the need to ensure that material is not published or shared where doing so would be contrary to the interests of national security. 
  2. This Protocol should be read alongside the Inquiry’s Privacy Policy. The Privacy Policy explains what personal data is processed by the Inquiry, for what purpose, and how it is processed. It must be adhered to by all persons who access, use, process, control or otherwise deal with personal information on the Inquiry’s behalf.
  3. In some cases individuals arrangements may be reached with DPs in order to manage the disclosure process, for example if steps are required to minimise the risk of prejudice to ongoing criminal and/or disciplinary investigations. Where needed, such arrangements will be set out in individual Memorandums of Understanding, which should be read alongside this Protocol and the Inquiry’s Privacy Policy.

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Background and Aims

  1. This Protocol is designed to ensure that:
    1. The Inquiry receives documents in a timely fashion and in accordance with any agreed deadlines;
    2. Provision is made for the Inquiry to receive full disclosure as required by its Terms of Reference; and
    3. The public and the Everard family know how the Inquiry is approaching the collation of documents.
  1. The Inquiry will collate and generate a large amount of information during its work. This information will include personal data and sensitive personal data. There will understandably be concerns about how this information is to be used. This Protocol, alongside the Inquiry’s Privacy Policy, therefore also sets out:
    1. How the Inquiry will treat information disclosed to it;
    2. The extent to which this information will be published and shared; and
    3. The procedures that the Inquiry will follow in obscuring information from documents, known as the ‘redaction’ process.

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How the Inquiry will treat information received

  1. All documents received by the Inquiry will only be accessed by the Chair and members of the Inquiry Team until material is disclosed or shared in accordance with paragraphs 37-43 below. The Inquiry Team consists of the following:
    1. the Inquiry Secretariat;
    2. the Inquiry Legal Team (which consists of Solicitors to the Inquiry and Counsel to the Inquiry, if appointed, and support staff).
  1. Members of the Inquiry Team will only have access to documents as are deemed necessary. Where documents are identified by DPs as raising particular national security concerns, the Inquiry will consider limiting access, and will determine the scope of access with DPs on a case by case basis. The Chair and members of the Inquiry Team acknowledge that the contents of the documents provided to them must remain confidential, until/unless the documents, or parts of the documents, are published or shared in accordance with this Protocol.
  2. The Chair and the Inquiry Team will all:
    1. sign a confidentiality undertaking as to information obtained during the Inquiry’s work;
    2. have received training on their data protection obligations and keeping personal data secure;
    3. be given access to personal data and protected material only where necessary;
    4. have obtained appropriate security clearance and will follow the relevant Government security rules and procedures for the transmission, handling, storage and removal of documents; and
    5. have the ability to be monitored and audited in respect of what personal data they have accessed in the course of their work in respect of the Inquiry.
  1. Any documents provided to the Inquiry will only be used as set out in the Inquiry’s Privacy Policy, as updated from time to time (which can be found on the Inquiry’s website), or as required by law.
  2. Any information provided to the Inquiry including personal data, may be transferred to IT systems operated by third-party contractors acting on behalf of the Inquiry for the purposes of storing, reviewing and analysing documents and information. Where this is the case, these contractors are subject to stringent contractual obligations in relation to ensuring the security and confidentiality of the information, including personal data and sensitive material, they hold on behalf of the Inquiry. This means that they cannot do anything with that data unless the Inquiry has instructed them to do so, except where required to by law or Court Order. Where appropriate, access will be limited.
  3. Third-party contractors acting on behalf of the Inquiry have provided sufficient guarantees as to the security of the data they hold, including taking all appropriate technical and organisational measures (including to ensure the confidentiality, controlled access to and security of data).
  4. The Inquiry and members of the Inquiry Team have implemented extensive measures intended to ensure that any information processed for and/or by the Inquiry, is kept secure and separate from information unrelated to the work of the Inquiry. These measures include:
    1. the use of encryption;
    2. the use of systems to restrict access to the information to specified individuals only; and
    3. keeping a record of who has had access to specific information and when they accessed it.
  1. Hard copy documents relating to the Inquiry are stored in locked, secure locations that can only be accessed by the staff engaged to work on the Inquiry.

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Provision of Documents

  1. So far as possible, DPs should identify a named contact/s with whom the Chair and Inquiry Team can liaise in respect of requests for documents.
  2. If a DP receives a request for documents, they will need to undertake a comprehensive and thorough search for such documents. A detailed written record of the search/searches undertaken should be made at the time any search is conducted. The Chair and/or members of the Inquiry Team will be available to answer questions about how to undertake such a search, including agreeing search terms that should be used or what the parameters of that search should be. A search for relevant documents should be carried out without delay.
  3. The Inquiry will expect documents to be provided promptly and within the time limits specified by the Inquiry; usually within seven working days of the date of a request.
  4. Documents disclosed to the Inquiry should be provided as follows:
    1. In their original and unredacted form. The exceptions to this are outlined below at paragraphs 26 to 36 in respect of:
      1. documents subject to legal professional privilege;
      2. documents which hold a classification above OFFICIAL/OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE;
      3. documents which hold a classification of ‘SNI’ – Sensitive Nuclear Information; and/or
      4. documents which attract public interest immunity;
    2. In electronic format that is text searchable (OCR’d), to be sent via the Inquiry’s secure file transfer system, details of which will be provided by the Inquiry Team;
    3. Where only hard copy documents are available, these should be digitised before disclosure to the Inquiry wherever possible. If the document is mainly text based, this should be scanned in black and white and should only be scanned in colour where it is critical to the legibility and interpretation of the document. Scanning settings should be set to 300 dpi (number of dots per inch as scanned) for both black and white and colour documents. If a DP is unable to digitise hard copy documents, further discussions will be had to discuss and agree the most secure way of managing this process;
    4. Accompanied by a disclosure statement. The purpose of such a statement will be to confirm the search methodology adopted by the DP, to provide clear assurance that the Inquiry’s request has been met so far as is reasonable in all of the circumstances. The disclosure statement should also explain what has become of any information which cannot be produced (including, where possible, identification of the last person/organisation known to have had access to documents that are no longer held); and
    5. Accompanied by an inventory listing the documents that have been provided to the Inquiry.
  5. Requests for disclosure of material falling within the Terms of Reference by the Inquiry create a continuing obligation throughout the duration of the Inquiry’s work.
  1. DPs will need to establish procedures to ensure that the existence of any new documents (i.e. those documents newly created and/or newly discovered and those newly acquired) which might fall within the Terms of Reference are identified and drawn to the attention of the Inquiry. This disclosure obligation ceases once the Chair has satisfied her Terms of Reference, published her report/s and the Inquiry’s work is complete.
  2. Original documents must be retained by DPs. If the Inquiry wishes to inspect any original document(s), DPs will be contacted by the Chair or a member of the Inquiry Team and asked to produce the document(s) at a time and place specified.
  3. The Chair may draw adverse conclusions or inferences if it considers that documents have been, or may have been, without good reason, distorted, destroyed, intentionally suppressed, concealed or altered.

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Legal Professional Privilege

  1. Where the DP believes that some or all of the information requested may be subject to legal professional privilege (“LPP”), or a legal rule which would prevent disclosure to the Inquiry, they may withhold it, or redact in full (i.e. black out the information) some, or all, of the information before sending it to the Inquiry. Written reasons should be provided to explain why the material is considered to attract LPP. The provision of documents should not be unreasonably delayed on the grounds that some or all of this information may be subject to LPP.
  2. The Inquiry may agree to receive information in an unredacted form on the basis of strict confidentiality for the sole purpose of reviewing the information for relevance. Where information is provided on such a basis, this does not prevent the DP from subsequently claiming LPP in respect of all or part of that information.
  3. DPs are reminded that they may choose to waive LPP and should therefore consider carefully whether the public interest, in ensuring that the Inquiry is effective, would justify such waiver.

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Classified Material

  1. The Inquiry is aware that some of the documents it will receive may be classified. The expectation is that, in the vast majority of cases, all material classified as OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE or below (This would encompass material that under previous classification categories are marked as Restricted, Protect and Confidential) will be disclosed to the Inquiry in an unredacted form. The exception to that are documents classified OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE SNI (Sensitive Nuclear Information) which are dealt with at paragraph 31 below.
  1. If documents attract a higher classification, in the first instance the DP will review the documents and redact them where necessary so that their classification is downgraded to OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE, as applicable, so that they can be disclosed to the Inquiry.
  2. If documents attract an OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE SNI classification, in the first instance the DP will review documents to establish whether they have been over-classified and – if the DP is the originator of the documents – will release them unredacted if so. In the event that the DP is not the originator of the documents, they will refer them to original owner or author, allowing the originator to make that assessment in the first instance. If correctly classified, the DP will consult the relevant regulator, Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), prior to disclosure to allow further handling instructions to be considered and redactions applied if requested.
  3. If the application of redactions are necessary, the DP will:
    1. Redact the minimum necessary to achieve the classification downgrade, so the document can be disclosed, and so far as possible ensuring that the meaning of the text is not lost, to avoid any prejudice to the Terms of Reference of the Inquiry; and
    2. Where it is necessary to make a redaction to achieve the classification downgrade, provide the reason for the redaction and separately make the unredacted version available to the Chair and Inquiry Team for inspection.
  4. The provision of documents should not be unreasonably delayed on the grounds that some information may need to be redacted due to the classification of documents.
  1. Where information disclosed has been redacted by a DP due to its classification, or on the grounds of the information attracting public interest immunity, to facilitate the Inquiry’s work the Chair and identified members of the Inquiry Team (who hold the necessary level of security clearance required for viewing such information) may inspect unredacted original documents. The arrangements that are required for inspecting such unredacted documents will depend on the nature of documents, the DP, and the necessary security requirements attached to the information to be inspected. This should be agreed separately with the Chair on a case by case basis;
  2. DPs will take steps to ensure that the process for viewing unredacted documents as outlined in paragraph 34 above, does not result in significant inconvenience to the Chair and Inquiry Team as to location and access. The default position would be that the original unredacted documents be viewed at the Inquiry’s premises or electronically, where security provisions permit this; and
  3. The redacted information viewed will be kept confidential by the Chair and the Inquiry Team.

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Public disclosure process

  1. The Inquiry’s Privacy Policy sets out how the Inquiry will use data that it receives during the course of its work.
  2. It is expected that the Chair will wish to draw on information contained in documents provided pursuant to this Protocol when producing her report/s. Those reports may also reference source documentation on which it is based. The reports will be published.
  3. The Inquiry may also share documents provided pursuant to this Protocol with third parties in the following scenarios:
    1. To help inform witness interviews;
    2. To inform disclosure requests;
    3. To obtain expert evidence;
    4. To inform the work of a group of specialist individuals appointed by the Chair to provide advice during the course of the Inquiry’s work, known as the ‘Reference Group’; and
    5. To inform prosecuting and/or regulatory bodies if there are concerns in relation to conduct or the safety of an individual.
  1. The Inquiry may also use information contained in documents provided pursuant to this Protocol to assist any hearings that it holds, including:
    1. Sharing documents with witnesses who appear from the Inquiry’s hearings, where relevant; and
    2. Seeking approval of the contents of transcripts from hearings, including documents referred to.
  1. At this stage it is intended that any hearings will be conducted in private. If however the Chair reaches a stage where she cannot meet her Terms of Reference in the absence of the powers that are available to an inquiry established under the Inquiries Act 2005, the Chair may make a request to the Secretary of State for the Inquiry to be converted to a statutory inquiry; in such a scenario, documents provided pursuant to this Protocol could also be published and shared with third parties as follows:
    1. With core participants and their recognised legal representatives;
    2. Published on the Inquiry’s website;
    3. Referred to during public hearings;
  1. Documents disclosed or shared with third parties will undergo a redaction process in accordance with the procedures set out in this Protocol. The redaction process will pay due regard to interests of national security and to any representations as to the appropriate scope of those redactions made by DPs.
  1. The Inquiry will not share unredacted documents with individual or organisations save for as follows:
    1. An individual or organisation was the author or recipient of the unredacted document and is therefore entitled to see it in its unredacted form; or
    2. The DP has subsequently agreed to this in writing.

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Redaction Process

Personal Data

  1. The Inquiry has its own obligations under data protection legislation. The Inquiry will review all documents prior to sharing with any other third parties or publishing any information, and will apply redactions as necessary so that it complies with relevant data protection laws.
  2. The expectation therefore is that DPs do not need to apply redactions to documents in respect of personal data or sensitive personal data.
  3. Personal data is any information that could directly or indirectly identify a living individual. The intention of the Chair is that when disclosing or sharing documents/information provided pursuant to this Protocol, the general approach to be taken is that individuals will not be named, save for as follows:
    1. Individuals holding an accountable role in an organisation at a time of interest to the Chair, with the exception of individuals the disclosure of whose identity will threaten the interests of national security;
    2. Expert witnesses; and
    3. Where the identity of the individual is relevant and necessary to enable the Chair to fulfil her Terms of Reference.
  4. While names will not necessarily be redacted, where relevant and necessary to the Inquiry’s work, the Inquiry anticipates that the following personal data will be redacted (this is not intended to be an exhaustive list):
    1. Day and month of birth;
    2. Personal telephone numbers;
    3. Personal email addresses;
    4. Personal social media identifiers;
    5. Identification numbers;
    6. Home addresses, unless the address is itself relevant; and
    7. Signatures of non-professional witnesses and members of the public, unless the signature itself is relevant.
  1. The Inquiry will decide whether any other information needs to be redacted on a case-by-case basis. The Inquiry’s approach to the redaction of personal data is governed by the relevance of that data to the Inquiry and the necessity of its disclosure.

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Other Data

  1. When redacting documents in advance of disclosure, or for sharing with third parties, the Inquiry will follow the procedure set out below, but this Protocol does not cover every eventuality. Where the interests of justice and fairness, or national security, require it, the Inquiry may depart from the below process, but will provide prior notice to any relevant DP or other party to provide them with an opportunity to make representations.
  2. In the event that the Inquiry would like to disclose or share with a third party documents or categories of documents, the Inquiry shall notify the relevant DP of its intention to do so with 14 days’ notice of any intended date of publication or disclosure to allow the relevant organisation to make representations as to disclosure and/or redaction. Any representations should:
    1. Be made in writing and sent by email to info@angiolini.independent-inquiry.uk; and
    2. Contain a copy of the document/s with the suggested redactions clearly marked and an explanation of the reasons for the proposed redactions.
  1. The Inquiry will take a reasonable approach when considering any representations or comments in relation to suggested redactions, including in relation to timescales, particularly where there is an obligation for a DP to consult others on proposed redactions. If necessary, the Inquiry will seek further information in relation to the basis of the representations being made. In particular, the Inquiry will carefully consider and give due weight to redactions concerning the protection of national security proposed by DPs. In some cases it may be necessary for an entire document to be redacted.
  1. There may be some instances where there is joint equity in documents provided by DPs, or the same document has been provided by more than one DP. In such instances:
    1. the DP should notify the Inquiry if there is joint equity in the document/s upon which representations are being sought; and
    2. the Inquiry will determine which DP should be consulted on redactions prior to disclosure. When considering who to consult, the Inquiry will take into consideration a range of factors, including, but not limited to: whether the DP was the original holder of the document, and if not who is; a careful consideration as to which DP is best placed to advise on redaction, and in some instances it may be necessary to consult more than one DP; and ensuring expeditious progress of the Inquiry. In exercising that discretion, the Inquiry will act with fairness at all times.
  1. If the Inquiry does not accept the representations as to redactions or disclosure made by the DP, it will give the DP five working days’ notice of that decision so that it can be challenged by the DP through due process and for the Inquiry to be notified of such a challenge.
  2. If documents (or information within documents) are not shared or disclosed as a result of representations made by the DP, the Inquiry may still use the information contained within such documents to inform its investigations.

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Ongoing Prosecutions, Proceedings, Investigations and Complaints

  1. In undertaking its work, the Inquiry will take steps to ensure that ongoing prosecutions, proceedings, investigations and complaints (together “Live Proceedings”)are not prejudiced. The Inquiry is aware that a number of DPs may hold documents related to Live Proceedings.
  2. In the event that the Inquiry makes a request for documents related to Live Proceedings, the expectation is that the relevant DP will be able to disclose documents to the Inquiry under the terms of this Protocol. When making such disclosure to the Inquiry, the DP should however indicate whether the documents relate to Live Proceedings and provide details of the Live Proceedings, including the other parties involved. The documents disclosed and details of Live Proceedings will be provided to the Inquiry on a confidential basis, until/unless the documents, or parts of the documents, are published or shared, as confirmed in paragraph 11 of this protocol.   
  3. In respect of onward disclosure and/or sharing of documents, and the redaction process detailed at paragraphs 44 to 54 above that applies, where the Inquiry intends to share and/or disclose documents which may relate to Live Proceedings, the Inquiry will independently seek representations on redactions from all DPs, and other relevant organisations, involved with Live Proceedings to which the document/s to be shared and/or disclosed relate, to ensure that no prejudice is caused.
  4. In respect of ongoing disclosure obligations (see paragraphs 22 to 23 above) and the existence of any new documents (i.e. those documents newly created and/or newly discovered and those newly acquired), where these relate to Live Proceedings, DPs are asked to provide such documents regardless of whether they created them or acquired them, and regardless of the fact that this may result in duplicate documents being provided to the Inquiry. DPs should put in place procedures to ensure that any documents created or acquired in relation to Live Proceedings are periodically disclosed to the Inquiry in accordance with this ongoing obligation.  

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Conclusion of the Inquiry’s work

  1. Following the conclusion of the Inquiry’s work, any documentation that is to be retained as part of the historic record will be transferred to the National Archives. In so doing, the Inquiry will ensure classified and sensitive material, including material that if disclosed could threaten national security, is duly protected. All other data that it is not necessary to retain (digital or otherwise) will then be destroyed.

Last updated on 28/03/2022

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