Cabinet Office Homepage

Cabinet Office website

Main navigation

Intelligence and Security Committee

The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) was 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 Committee has developed its oversight remit, with the Government's agreement, to include examination of intelligence-related elements of the Cabinet Office including: the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC); the Assessments Staff; and the Intelligence, Security and Resilience Group.  The Committee also takes evidence from the Defence Intelligence Staff (DIS), part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), which assists the Committee in respect of work within the Committee's remit.

The Prime Minister apoints the ISC Members after considering nominations from Parliament and consulting with the leaders of the two main opposition parties.  The Committee reports directly to the Prime Minister, and through him to Parliament, by the publication of the Committee's reports.

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.

Latest News

Tuesday 19 May:  The Intelligence and Security Committee has published its Review of the Intelligence on the London Terrorist Attacks on 7 July 2005. A copy of the Review is available here. It was published by means of a Written Ministerial Statement which can be found here.   The Committee has issued a press release which can be found here.

17 March 2009: The Committee has today issued a press release on 'Alleged complicity of the UK security and intelligence Agencies in torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment' which can be found here

5 March 2009: The Prime Minister has today laid the Intelligence and Security Committee's 2007-2008 Annual Report before Parliament. The Committee has issued a press release which can be found here and the Report together with the Government's response can be found here.

21 October 2008: The Prime Minister has today appointed Dr Kim Howells, MP as the new Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee. The Rt. Hon. Margaret Beckett, MP stood down as Chair of the Committee on 3 October 2008.


The ISC produces an Annual Report each year and may, on occasion, produce special ‘ad hoc’ Reports. The Committee sends its Reports to the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister then lays them before Parliament.

The Committee does not comment on its work programme or reports beyond any information given here.