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- A total of 29 organisations, 27 councils, one public authority and one government department, the Department for Transport paid private firms to undertake surveillance
- The used powers under Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in the years 2010/11 and 2011/12
- But, 14 organisations - 10 councils and four public authorities - paid private firms to undertake surveillance that was not covered by Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, making it potentially illegal
- Two public authorities and two councils paid other public bodies to spy on their behalf at a cost of £7,600
- Four councils - Caerphilly, Dudley, Leicestershire and York - used private investigators to monitor their own staff
It's claimed around 14 bodies, including 10 councils, may have commissioned potentially illegal surveillance.
- The findings were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by civil liberties group Big Brother Watch
- The organisation claims four organisations paid other public bodies to undertake surveillance
- It also claims four councils used private investigators to spy on their own employees
More than £3.9 million has been spent by public bodies over the last two years to pay private investigators for surveillance work, including snooping on their own staff.
The Department for Transport is among a range of public organisations that have paid private firms to spy on their behalf.