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The Intelligence and Security Committee

Published Wednesday, February 3, 2016

This note describes the functions and powers of the Intelligence and Security Committee, which is responsible for scrutinising the UK's intelligence and security agencies. It outlines reforms to the Committee under the Justice and Security Act 2013, and summarises recent inquiries.

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The Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) is a committee of Parliament appointed to scrutinise the UK’s three main intelligence and security agencies and other intelligence activities.

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.

The Committee’s members are now nominated by the Prime Minister and appointed by their respective Houses, and it reports directly to Parliament.

The ISC has published a number of important reports recently, including one on the agencies' intrusive surveillance powers, which contributed to the formulation of the Government's Draft Investigatory Powers Bill 2015.

Commons Briefing papers SN02178

Author: Joanna Dawson

Topics: Intelligence services, Terrorism

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