Official secrets—levels of secrecy
Official secrets—levels of secrecy

The following Public Law practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Official secrets—levels of secrecy
  • Government security classifications
  • Legal framework
  • OFFICIAL classification
  • SECRET classification
  • TOP SECRET classification
  • Key principles

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: What does IP completion day mean for public law?

Government security classifications

The Government Security Classifications policy came into force on 2 April 2014. The policy is designed to ensure that information is classified, shared and protected as appropriate. It applies to all information (in any form) generated, processed, collected, stored or shared by the government in order to deliver services and conduct business. The security classifications indicate the sensitivity of the information in terms of the likely impact resulting from the compromise, loss or misuse of the information.

The 2014 regime introduced three levels of security classification:

  1. OFFICIAL

  2. SECRET

  3. TOP SECRET

Prior to this, there were six levels of security classification:

  1. UNCLASSIFIED

  2. PROTECTED

  3. RESTRICTED

  4. CONFIDENTIAL

  5. SECRET

  6. TOP SECRET

The aim of the revised regime is to simplify the process of handling official documents and to update a system which was developed for the handling of paper based materials in the hope of

Popular documents