The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) is the committee of Parliament with statutory responsibility for oversight of the UK Intelligence Community.

Authority

The Committee was established under the Intelligence Services Act 1994, but its powers were reinforced in the Justice and Security Act 2013.

Remit

Under the Justice and Security Act 2013 and the accompanying Memorandum of Understanding (which can be found at Annex A in the Committee’s Annual Report 2013-2014), the ISC oversees the policies, expenditure, administration and operations of MI5, MI6, GCHQ, Defence Intelligence, the Joint Intelligence Organisation, the National Security Secretariat (NSS) and Homeland Security Group.

The Committee sets its own agenda and work programme, taking evidence from Ministers, the Heads of the intelligence and security Agencies, senior officials, experts, and academics as it considers necessary.

Membership

The Committee consists of nine Members, drawn from both Houses of Parliament and appointed by Parliament. The Chair of the Committee is elected by its Members. The Members are subject to Section 1(1)(b) of the Official Secrets Act 1989 and are routinely given access to highly classified material in carrying out their duties.

Current Inquiries

The Committee is currently conducting Inquiries into:

  • national security issues relating to China;
  • International Partnerships;
  • Cloud technologies; and
  • national security issues relating to Iran.


News

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5 August 2022

The Committee has sent its Report, 'Annual Report 2021-2022', to the Prime Minister.

11:11, 5 August 2022

13 July 2022

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament has today published the following report 'Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism', and has also issued a press release:

10:02, 13 July 2022

12 May 2022

The Committee notes that the Minister for the Cabinet Office has today made a written statement in respect of the appointment of Lord Lebedev to the House of Lords.

The Intelligence and Security Committee had requested information pertaining to Lord Lebedev's appointment. That request was made on a classified basis, in accordance with the Committee's statutory oversight of the intelligence and security agencies under the Justice and Security Act 2013.

It was completely independent of the parliamentary motion passed by the House of Commons on 29 March 2022 - since the ISC is not a Select Committee (notwithstanding its mis-description as such, in the Government's written statement) and its provisions are set down in law.

The information requested was not provided to us by the 28 April deadline mandated by the Committee (so as to align with the Parliamentary deadline). It was received only yesterday and the Committee is therefore not yet in a position to determine whether the information provided is sufficient, whether the response meets the statutory provisions which govern the Intelligence Community's obligations to the Committee, and whether the Committee will have further questions arising.

The Committee is surprised by the statement by the Minister for the Cabinet Office today which links the classified provision of information to the Committee with the entirely separate parliamentary process of the Government's response to the resolution of the House of Commons. So far as the ISC is concerned, at this stage our request for information should have remained a private - and classified - matter of oversight.

The Committee will be making no further comment on the information provided to it at this time.

16:23, 12 May 2022

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