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Leading the UK's fight to cut serious and organised crime

Governance and transparency

We have a duty to be open, transparent and accountable for our performance and our use of public money and have rigorous governance and oversight procedures.

Accountability and governance

We are an operationally independent non-ministerial government department. We operate across the UK, respecting the devolution of policing in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

A large number of our officers are accredited with the operational powers of:

  • a police constable
  • an immigration officer
  • a customs officer and general customs official

Some of our officers also have additional elements to enable them to operate within the devolved administrations, for example powers of a constable in Northern Ireland.

Our Director General is accountable for the agency's performance to the Home Secretary and, through the Home Secretary, to Parliament. The agency is also subject to scrutiny by the Scottish Parliament and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The pdf NCA Framework document (223 KB) sets out the respective roles and responsibilities of the Home Secretary and the Director General of the NCA. It covers our accountability, management, operational and financial arrangements and explains how the relationship between the Home Secretary and the National Crime Agency functions.

The pdf Annual Plan 2019/20  (2.77 MB) sets out how we will meet our strategic and operational priorities in the year ahead, while the pdf Annual Report and Accounts 2017/18 (1.26 MB)  includes a summary of our performance at the end of the year against that plan as well as our year-end accounts.


We're subject to rigorous external and independent scrutiny including by:

  • Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) on efficiency and effectiveness, working with other inspection bodies as appropriate;
  • The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC - for activity undertaken in England and Wales); the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland; and the Police Investigations Review Commissioner for Scotland;
  • The Office of Surveillance Commissioners, which provides oversight of the use of covert surveillance and covert human intelligence sources;
  • The Interception of Communications Commissioner, who provides oversight of the use of interception powers and the acquisition of communications data; and
  • The Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which can investigate complaints from the public about the use of intrusive powers

We're also subject to scrutiny by Parliament, primarily by the Home Affairs Select Committee.


We are accountable for our actions and publish as much information about our work as possible.

For reasons of operational security Parliament decided that we should not be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

We do have a statutory obligation to ensure that we're transparent (Crime and Courts Act s6) and to publish information about the exercise of NCA functions and other matters relating to the NCA.

For further information on our transparency policy please read ' pdf Transparency: The NCA Publication Approach (71 KB) '.

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