There are a number of international standards that should govern the way in which NPMs perform their functions. These are set out in OPCAT and by the SPT and they include the requirements to:
- be fully independent of government and the institutions it monitors
- be sufficiently resourced to perform its role; and
- have personnel with the necessary expertise and who are sufficiently diverse to represent the community in which it operates.
Additionally, the NPM must have the power to:
- access all places of detention (including those operated by private providers)
- conduct interviews in private with detainees and other relevant people
- choose which places it wants to visit and who it wishes to interview
- access information about the number of people deprived of their liberty, the number of places of detention and their location; and
- access information about the treatment and conditions of detainees.