Useful Links and FAQs

Organisations Overseen by the Committee

MI5
 
MI6 (Secret Intelligence Service)

Government Communications Headquarters
 
Defence Intelligence (Ministry of Defence)

Joint Intelligence Organisation (Cabinet Office)

National Security Secretariat (Cabinet Office)

Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (Home Office)
 

UK Intelligence Oversight Bodies

Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office

Investigatory Powers Tribunal

Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation


Legislation

Investigatory Powers Act 2016

Justice and Security Act 2013

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

Intelligence Services Act 1994

Security Service Act 1989
 

Other Documents

House of Commons briefing paper on the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament


Frequently Asked Questions

1. I wish to report information on a current national security threat. Should I contact the ISC?
The ISC does not handle national security incidents. We recommend that you call the police counter-terrorism hotline on 0800 789 321, your local police force or alternatively contact MI5 by webform or phone using the details here: https://www.mi5.gov.uk/contact-us.

2. What is the difference between the ISC and other UK intelligence oversight bodies, such as the Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office?
The ISC considers strategic issues in relation to the UK Intelligence Community. These might, for example, include the allocation of resources to tackle Northern Ireland-related terrorism, or the approach to tackling cyber security. It may also elect to undertake a review into a particular area of intelligence activity - the ISC's Privacy and Security Report, published in 2016, addressed the issue of transparency and revealed intrusive Agency powers which had not previously been avowed.

By contrast, the Investigatory Powers Commissioner's Office provides independent oversight and authorisation of the use of investigatory powers by intelligence agencies, police forces and other public authorities - overseeing how these powers are used, taking account of the public interest and ensuring that investigations are conducted in accordance with the law. The Investigatory Powers Tribunal is an independent judicial body which provides a right of redress for anyone who believes they have been a victim of unlawful action by a public authority using covert investigative techniques (including considering complaints regarding any conduct by or on behalf of the UK Intelligence Community).

3. Does the ISC handle individual complaints regarding the intelligence and security Agencies?
The ISC does not investigate individual complaints regarding the intelligence and security Agencies. Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, the appropriate body to investigate your complaint is the Investigatory Powers Tribunal which is an independent body comprising senior judges and lawyers. Further details about the Tribunal, including the process for lodging a complaint, can be found on its website at https://www.ipt-uk.com/. Alternatively, you can contact the Tribunal at the following address:

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal
PO Box 33220
London
SW1H 9Z

4. Does the ISC handle complaints regarding government vetting procedures?
The ISC does not handle individual complaints regarding the intelligence and security Agencies, including issues with vetting. You may wish to contact the Security Vetting Appeals Panel (SVAP) - an independent avenue of appeal for Civil Service staff and contractors whose security clearance has been refused or withdrawn.

5. Is the ISC subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000?
Any information by, or relating to, the ISC is exempt information under section 23 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

6. Does the ISC offer work experience or internship programmes?
The Committee employs permanent civil servants and is therefore unable to offer internships or work experience. Any vacancies within the Committee Secretariat are advertised to permanent current civil servants through the Civil Service Recruitment website.

7. Does the ISC set terms of reference for its Inquiries?
The ISC does not set terms of reference since it is essential that the Committee is able to follow the evidence and is not constrained in its scope.

8. I would like to speak to the ISC in person, what is your address?
Due to the sensitive nature of the work undertaken by the Committee, the ISC does not publicise its address. If you wish to contact the Committee, please write to us at: ISC, PO BOX 76254, London, SW1P 9NJ. Alternatively, to contact us electronically, please use the webform here.