The Office of National Intelligence (ONI) produces all-source assessments on international political, strategic and economic developments to the Prime Minister, members of the National Security Committee of Cabinet, and senior officials of Government departments. ONI also has responsibility for coordinating and evaluating Australia’s foreign intelligence activities.
Each year the IGIS reviews the activities of ONI (and formerly ONA). The functions of intelligence assessment agencies, such as ONI and DIO, mean that they are less likely than the intelligence collection agencies to intrude on the privacy of Australian persons or operate in breach of legislation. As such the IGIS makes fewer inspections of ONI and DIO compared to the intelligence collection agencies.
Information on all agency inspections and assessments are published in the IGIS annual report.
During 2019–20, IGIS inspected the analytic independence and integrity of ONI assessments and ONI’s compliance with its Privacy Rules. An additional inspection was scheduled in relation to ONI’s open source collection function under section 7(1)(g) of the Office of National Intelligence Act 2018 (ONI Act). However, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, that inspection did not commence and has been rescheduled for the 2020–21 reporting period. Inspections of ONI are less frequent than for a collection agency given its comparatively lower risk profile as an assessment agency