A WILTSHIRE councillor has been appointed to update the authority's powers of covert surveillance in line with government code of practice.

Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, known as RIPA, Wiltshire Council has the powers to undertake surveillance activities.

The act allows the council to authorise the surveillance of communications and covert direct surveillance.

Following an inspection by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners the council's legal team have had to make some amendments to its policies.

But the amendments to the council's policies when implementing the powers under RIPA will be agreed by a single cabinet member, instead of a public cabinet meeting.

A report on the proposed amendment stated: "The existing policies are robust and the proposed amendments will, in practice, have little impact on the way in which officers exercise their powers under the regime.

"As such, it is considered appropriate to bring this decision before the responsible cabinet member rather than cabinet itself."

Among the changes highlighted are that the council provides quarterly reporting to ensure greater oversight, a clarification of record management processes, and definition of property interference.

Anyone wanting to make representations to the named council officer, Paul Barnett, should do so before December 3.

In 2008 the council reviewed its policies after it used the powers to see if a family was lying about living within the catchment area for a local school.