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Justice and Security Act 2013

Background on the oversight of intelligence and security activities

13.Before the Act was passed, the system for independent oversight of government intelligence activity was principally contained in the Intelligence Services Act 1994 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. In particular, the Intelligence Services Act 1994 established the Intelligence and Security Committee, a body consisting of members of each House of Parliament, with the function of examining the expenditure, administration and policy of the Agencies. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 contains provisions on the oversight of certain investigatory powers, including provisions which establish two Commissioners: the Interception of Communications Commissioner and the Intelligence Services Commissioners.

14.That system of oversight had been built up over time. Where gaps had emerged in the system, they had been filled through non-statutory additions to the remits of existing oversight bodies. The Act modernises the oversight system, and ensures that it is flexible enough to cope with future changes.

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