About the Committee

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) was first established by the Intelligence Services Act 1994 to examine the policy, administration and expenditure of the Security Service, Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The Justice and Security Act 2013 reformed the ISC: making it a Committee of Parliament; providing greater powers; and increasing its remit (including oversight of operational activity and the wider intelligence and security activities of Government). Other than the three intelligence and security Agencies, the ISC examines the intelligence-related work of the Cabinet Office including: the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC); the Assessments Staff; and the National Security Secretariat. The Committee also provides oversight of Defence Intelligence in the Ministry of Defence and the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism in the Home Office.

Members of the ISC are appointed by Parliament and the Committee reports directly to Parliament. The Committee may also make reports to the Prime Minister on matters which are national security sensitive.

The Members are subject to Section 1(1)(b) of the Official Secrets Act 1989 and have access to highly classified material in carrying out their duties. The Committee takes evidence from Cabinet Ministers and senior officials – all of which is used to formulate its reports.

Recent Announcements

The Committee's most recent announcements are displayed below. For earlier announcements, or to see more details/attachments, please select 'News Archive' from the navigation bar.
  • 17 March 2015
    Following publication of the Committee’s Report ‘Privacy and Security: A modern and transparent legal framework’ on 12 March 2015, Big Brother Watch wrote to the Committee regarding the evidence they gave to the Committee on 15 October 2014.  The Committee has today responded to Big Brother Watch, enclosing the transcript of the original evidence.  (A copy of Big Brother Watch’s letter of 13 March can be read here.)
    Posted 17 Mar 2015, 10:35 by ISC Admin
  • 12 March 2015
    The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has today published its Report 'Privacy and Security: A modern and transparent legal framework'.

    This Report includes, for the first time in a single document, a comprehensive review of the full range of intrusive capabilities available to the UK intelligence Agencies. It contains an unprecedented amount of information about those capabilities, the legal framework governing their use, and the privacy protections and safeguards that apply. The Report also reveals the use of certain capabilities – such as Bulk Personal Datasets and Directions under the Telecommunications Act 1984  for the first time. The Report represents a landmark in terms of the openness and transparency surrounding the Agencies’ work.

    The Committee has also released a press statement on the report, and the opening statement from this morning's press conference.
    Posted 12 Mar 2015, 05:14 by ISC Admin
  • 5 March 2015

    The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has today published a special report on Women in the UK Intelligence Community.
    The Report considers recruitment policy and practice; maternity-related issues, childcare and flexible working; career and promotion prospects; and cultural and behavioural issues.

    The Committee has also released a press statement on the report.
    Posted 5 Mar 2015, 02:19 by ISC Admin
  • 24 February 2015
    The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) has released a statement today regarding the Chairmanship of the Committee for the remainder of this Parliament.
    Posted 24 Feb 2015, 10:42 by ISC Admin
  • 24 February 2015
    The Chairman of the ISC, the Rt. Hon. Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP, has this morning issued the following statement:
    None of the current controversy with which I am associated is relevant to my work as Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.
    However, I have today informed my colleagues that while I will remain a member of the Committee, I will step down from the Chairmanship.
    The Committee is due to be dissolved in little over a month with the prorogation of Parliament for the forthcoming General Election.  The main substantive work which needs to be completed will be the publication of our Privacy and Security Report during March.
    I do not want the work of the Committee and the publication of the Report to be, in any way, distracted or affected by controversy as to my personal position.  I have concluded, therefore, that it is better that this important work should be presided over by a new Chairman.
    Posted 24 Feb 2015, 02:11 by ISC Admin
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