@ All men are created equal.
Your comments, and some others here, and indeed anywhere, on this subject, show a lack of basic knowledge regarding RIPA.
'What is special about a director?'
Someone of director level is expected to hold significant and substantial responsiblity for the actions of an authority that are authorised or instigated by them and hence raise the level of responsibility assumed by the authority as a whole. This may not be the case with lower level officers. A local authority will no longer be able to use the excuse that it was a low level officer that authorised it and not consistent with usual practice.
'The problem is the lack of independent controls on these RIPA requests...' and 'The basic checks need to be put back in place...'
You've obviously never seen a RIPA application. Every appilcation has to demonstrate that several factors have been considerd before an application can be authorised. These include proprtionality, necessity, lack of alternative means of obtainign the information, possible collateral intrusion, among others. To say that there are no basic checks disregards the fact that, if they're doing it right, they have several hoops to jump through before any applciation is approved.
'IMHO every RIPA request to any body for any reason should be notified to the target of the RIPA request.'
That's just impractical, unworkable and downright silly.
'If they're doing nothing wrong, then they have nothing to hide...'
I've heard that line before.
'...and nothing to fear by an independent check on their RIPA requests.'
All authorities that are entitled to use RIPA powers are inspected regularly by the Office of the Surveillance Commissioner. At the authority I'm based at we have in the past been inspected by Lord Colville. I think it's fair to say that classes as an 'independent check' don't you?
On a general note RIPA IS FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF CRIMES. If it's being used incorrectly that is the fault of the Authority and the OIC inspector not of the Act.
As pointed out by El Reg itself, applications to use RIPA by local authorities are a tiny fraction of the overall number of applications that are mainly approved by the police and security services. Maybe the focus of this whole debate is a little off?
If you think a council is misusing RIPA then put in an FOI request for their inspection report. If they're not using it right the report should show that and you can take them to task. If it doesn't then you need to give the OSC a kick up the arse.
On a final point, all this will do is mean that the directors will have to rubberstamp applications that have been prepared by the, hopefully, trained officers that are already completing them. Just what we need another cog in the machine.