National intelligence machinery

The composition of the UK’s intelligence machinery.


National Intelligence Machinery Booklet

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The intelligence machinery has at its core the three Intelligence and Security Agencies, the Secret Intelligence Service, GCHQ, and the Security Service, with important intelligence work also carried out by Defence Intelligence and the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre.

The work of the Intelligence and Security Agencies is governed by legislation, which puts them on a statutory footing for the first time and sets out the Agencies responsibilities.

The machinery at the heart of Government also plays an important function, for example the Joint Intelligence Committee supported by the Joint Intelligence Organisation assesses the raw intelligence gathered by some of the Agencies and presents it to ministers to enable effective policy making. The strategic management of intelligence policy and the Government’s international security agenda is governed by the National Security Advisor who heads the Secretariat for the new National Security Council.

The intelligence machinery is scrutinised and overseen by the Intelligence and Security Committee of parliamentarians, two Commissioners who oversee the use of investigatory powers by the Agencies and the Investigatory Powers Tribunal who investigate complaints by the public on the Agencies exercise of their powers.

Published 19 November 2010