Skip to main content


Back to Resources

Overseeing Intelligence Services: A Toolkit

11 October, 2012


DCAF's toolkit on overseeing intelligence services is a compendium of booklets (tools) written by leading experts on intelligence governance from around the world. It provides policy-relevant information on the establishment and consolidation of independent bodies to oversee state organisations involved in the collection, analysis, production and dissemination of intelligence in the national security domain. The toolkit's principal innovation is its provision of detailed guidance on the oversight of specific areas of intelligence services' activities (please see below for a full list of the tools). Acknowledging that there is no single '€œbest'€ approach to organising and conducting oversight, the toolkit's guidance is based on examples from almost twenty countries.

The toolkit focuses primarily on oversight by parliamentary committees and expert non-parliamentary bodies (e.g. supreme audit institutions and data protection commissions) and, to a lesser extent, on oversight by (quasi)judicial bodies. The toolkit is, however, likely to be of broad interest to the following groups:

  • persons involved in the design and establishment of oversight systems;
  • civil society organisations and media that monitor and evaluate the work of oversight bodies;
  • members of organisations that are subject to oversight by these bodies; and
  • members and staffers of oversight bodies.

This publication has been made possible by the generous support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.


Hans Born, Aidan Wills