Intelligence Gathering and Monitoring

The IMA effectively monitors the implementation and application of the relevant rights of qualifying persons in the UK and Gibraltar, a core role of the IMA is the production of intelligence. This intelligence will inform the direction of the IMA’s work, enabling efficient use of the IMA’s resources.



How we gather and assess intelligence

The intelligence cycle is an established framework for the effective management of collection and distribution of intelligence. It is an effective and established method to translate raw information into actionable intelligence.

The direction taken by the IMA’s Intelligence Hub is informed by a number of considerations.

First, internal requests. To answer intelligence questions generated during the routine work of IMA staff.

Second, by intelligence questions generated by the intelligence hub through analysis of data collected.  This includes the identification of intelligence gaps (such as the impact on particular rights or nationalities) which the IMA consider are important to the development of existing intelligence questions.

Third, high profile developments which feature in national media or are otherwise brought to notice to the IMA’s notice by community partner organisations or individuals.

Examples of strategic questions which will underpin our direction include:

  • Does the experience of qualifying persons in the UK match the commitments the UK Government and devolved governments (and Government of Gibraltar in Gibraltar) have made on their relevant rights?
  • Where the experience does not match the commitments, what legislation, policy or practice is responsible for any systemic issues?

Complaints made to the IMA will contribute a significant amount of information which can be assessed. The IMA will nonetheless proactively collect a wide range of additional information which will be processed into intelligence, sources such as:

Open source intelligence (“OSINT”) will be at the core, publicly available information from sources including:

  • Data and reports published by public bodies, the UK government and devolved Governments;
  • Data published by independent bodies (YouGov, Office for National Statistics);
  • New media, incorporating broadcast, print, and online reporting;
  • Social media platforms, making analysis of both the sentiment and the commentary.
  • UK Government Parliamentary activity, including the activities of the Devolved Governments.
  • EU Government Parliamentary activity, including the activity of member states, and EEA EFTA states
  • Reports produced by campaign groups, parliamentary lobbying groups, government “think tanks”, and other interested parties.

Closed source intelligence, information which is not in the public domain. Sources such as:

  • Complaints received by the IMA directly from citizens;
  • Ombudsman organisations;
  • Direct engagement with stakeholders and campaign groups, including EU and EEA EFTA member state embassies.
  • Public bodies, UK parliament, Devolved Governments and Government of Gibraltar;
  • Direct engagement with journalists and news media organisations;

The IMA will obtain, build, and maintain a range of tools to assist in collecting and analysing  intelligence. Tools whose functions will include:

  • Media and social media monitoring;
  • Data scraping and mining;
  • Data analytics and visualisation;
  • Quantitative and qualitative surveys;

Information obtained by the Intelligence Hub will be assessed to provide assurance that information is relevant, credible, and valid in reference to our collection requirements. Assessed information will be collated and processed to be analysed.

Intelligence themes represent the collection and analysis stages of the intelligence cycle. Producing an intelligence theme is a method of keeping all collected information on a single issue in one place. The purpose is to determine whether the issue needs to be escalated to the Compliance and Inquiry team.

Themes are created based on issues that the team reasonably suspect could be a breach of The Agreements and have signs of possibly being general or systemic issues. All intelligence themes are periodically reviewed and monitored to ensure the IMA is appropriately informed when considering its next steps.

Intelligence themes are prioritised to determine where to apply the team’s resources. It is important to note that the existence of a theme does not mean the IMA will undertake an Inquiry on the issue or indicates a breach of The Agreements has taken place.  

Complaints function

EU and EEA EFTA citizens and their family members may complain to the IMA if they are concerned that their rights have been, or may be, breached.

UK citizens who are in scope of the agreement are also able to complain. For example, a UK citizen in receipt of a state pension that relies on the social security coordination with an EU Member State.

Qualifying persons can also complain if they consider that a public body has acted, or is planning to act, in a way that prevents them from exercising their relevant rights.

The IMA will not intervene in individual cases unless it is indicative of a general or systemic failing which can be addressed by focussing on a specific case.

The IMA Website provides information to the public and potential complainants on the:

Complaints process

Complaint submission

Complaints on behalf of qualifying persons

Third parties including individuals as well as advocacy and support groups are able to report a complaint via the IMA’s online portal, by post, or by telephone on behalf of individual citizens when their consent has been received.

Assessment of scope

Complaints will be received by the IMA via the complaint portal on the website. When first accessing the complaints portal, complainants will be asked a series of questions designed to confirm that their complaint falls within the scope, role, and function of the IMA. In the case of postal and telephone complaints the same questions on the complaint portal are answered by the complainant. Following the submission of a complaint the IMA Intelligence Hub will conduct an initial triage review to assess whether the complaint is within the IMA’s scope. To be within scope of the IMA, a complaint needs to be: from a person who claims a right under The Agreements or a right that corresponds to such a right and is created or arises under domestic law, and; regarding a relevant right set out in The Agreements. The complainant will receive an update from the IMA when a material decision has been made on progressing the complaint which has either been assessed as out of scope and the complaint has been closed, or; it has been assessed as within scope and is being considered for appropriate action.

In scope complaints

The complainant will be informed of the preliminary review outcome.

The IMA will have particular regard to general and systemic issues. A general or systemic issue may be defined as an issue, problem or change in policy or practice which is inconsistent with the relevant rights that it negatively effects, or has the potential to effect, qualifying persons within scope. It may be caused by, but is not limited to, one or more of the following:

  • a system change;
  • an alteration in performance levels;
  • a policy or procedure change;
  • a lack of policy or procedure;
  • a lack of clear regulatory guidelines;
  • regulatory non-compliance;
  • the action of a stakeholder (e.g. legislative or regulatory change leading to misunderstanding or misapplication of the change).

To help inform their assessment, the Intelligence Hub should consider the complaint to identify whether it:

  • involves a decision that was made in applying relevant rights;
  • potentially impacts more than one person, now or in the future if the issue continues;

Potential indications that an issue raised in a complaint may be general or systemic include:

  • information in the complaint which suggests that the issue has arisen:
  • directly or causally from a system or process;
  • from a decision which appears inconsistent with a system or process but likely to be representative of the way the system or process is being applied and implemented widely at operational level.
  • information in the complaint which suggests similarity of issue with other data, intelligence and information which the IMA is aware of.
  • information in the complaint which suggests incompatibility in the underlying domestic legislation.