Intelligence

Satellite dishesThe Cabinet Office advises the Prime Minister and ministers on the Government’s response to cross-cutting strategic issues relating to intelligence and leads on intelligence assessment and priorities through the central intelligence machinery. It coordinates the Government’s response to civil emergencies, terrorist incidents and international crises. The Cabinet Office is also responsible for the Single Intelligence Account, which funds the work of the UK intelligence agencies. We work in partnership with all government units with a security or intelligence remit as well as the security and intelligence agencies.

The Cabinet Office leads in:

  • coordinating policy, ethical and legal issues of strategic importance to the intelligence community;
  • strategic engagement on critical international relationships and information sharing;
  • public scrutiny and accountability of the Intelligence and Security Agencies and fostering strong relations between the Public, Parliament and the Agencies;
  • setting the strategic direction and priorities, on behalf of government, for the UK intelligence and security community;
  • intelligence assessment and development of the UK intelligence community’s analytical capability, supporting the work of the Joint Intelligence Committee;
  • actively managing the Single Intelligence Account budget, supporting the community in securing funding, prioritising its investment and delivering increasing value for money in order to develop and implement the plans and capabilities required to meet Governments priorities;
  • developing robust and proportionate security protective security policies for HM Government and enhancing protective security capabilities across departments;
  • disclosure response and co-ordination: Maintain capability of HM Government to respond to and coordinate the unauthorised disclosure and authorised disclosure through statutory gateways;
  • providing highly-secure knowledge and information management services within and outside the Cabinet Office.

Who we work with

National Intelligence Machinery

For more information on the what the United Kingdom’s Intelligence machinery comprises, see National Intelligence Machinery Booklet

Supporting the National Security Council: The central national security and intelligence machinery

In January 2011, the Cabinet Office launched a study to look at maximising the effectiveness of the central national security and intelligence structures in light of the creation of the National Security Council. The recommendations from the review, as well as the terms of reference, can be found below.

Current UK threat level

Information about the national threat level is available from:

Information on the risks of terrorism for British nationals overseas can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website [external website].

Intelligence and security committee (ISC)

The Intelligence and Security Committee was established by the Intelligence Service Act 1994. It is formed of nine Parliamentarians drawn from both the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and appointed by the Prime Minister to examine the policy, administration and expenditure of the intelligence and security agencies: the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service and the Government Communications Headquarters.

The Committee reports annually to the Prime Minister on its work. These annual reports, after any redactions of sensitive material, are then laid before both Houses of Parliament, together with the Government's response, and debated.

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