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Our roles and responsibilities

SIS collects secret intelligence and mounts covert operations overseas in support of British Government objectives. The parameters for these activities are laid down in the Intelligence Services Act 1994, which states that SIS functions are to obtain and provide information and perform other tasks relating to the acts and intentions of persons overseas:

  • In the interests of national security, with particular reference to the government's defence and foreign policies;
  • in the interests of the economic well-being of the UK; and
  • in support of the prevention or detection of serious crime.

Part of a national and global team

The collection of intelligence by SIS is in accordance with the requirements and priorities established by the Joint Intelligence Committee and approved by British Government Ministers.

SIS uses human and technical sources to meet these requirements, as well as liaison with a wide range of foreign intelligence and security services.

SIS also works closely with the other British intelligence and security agencies (the Security Service and GCHQ), the Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office,  HM Revenue and Customs and other UK law enforcement agencies and government departments.

Alex talks about
her role as an
intelligence officer
View the transcript View the transcript