AN East Lancashire local authority made no use of covert surveillance to prevent and detect criminal activity in 2019/2020.

Burnley Council's legal boss Catherine Waudby revealed the fact when she update the borough's Audit and Standards Committee on the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act authorisations.

She told councillors: "The Council is subject to regular inspection by the Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office (IPCO) to ensure that its policies and procedures are operated in a lawful manner.

"The latest inspection was a telephone and desk- top based assessment which took place in March 2020.

"The report of the Investigatory Power’s Commissioner received in April 2020 was satisfied that the council was complying with the legislation but did make recommendations which would further strengthen compliance.

"These include revising the policy and ensuring staff are appropriately trained. Work on the recommendations is ongoing but has been delayed due to the pandemic.

"In accordance with previous recommendations of the IPCO, reports on RIPA activity (or lack of it) should be made periodically to elected members.

"The details of activity in the financial year 2019/20 are that there was no surveillance activity necessitating authorisation under RIPA in the financial year 2019/20."