Official Secrets Act

As a student,  a very long time ago, I had a summer job in the then Department of Social Security. On my first day I was required to sign the Official Secrets Act. At the time this sounded exciting and made me think my work might be more interesting than I had anticipated. But no, the work was dull, routine and very mind numbing. My job was to take the days post and try and match it with an existing case file, assuming there was one somewhere in the office. Apparently every civil servant no matter what their role had to sign the act. 

My question is this am I still bound by the act or did it only apply whilst I worked in the civil service? I assumed that it covered anything I leant whilst working there even if I no longer did. Does this mean that I am still bound by act? Should I assume London rules apply? 

Security level: Public

More Blog Entries

Are leaders born or made?

Can any one become a leader?  Can leadership skills be leant?  Are some people...

London Rules Apply

They may not be written down but everyone knows what they are even if they don’t know them as...


John Allan 2 Years Ago

Hi Blair,

You signed the O.S.A. and you are bound by it.


'(1)A person who is or has been—

(a)a member of the security and intelligence services; or

(b)a person notified that he is subject to the provisions of this subsection,

is guilty of an offence if without lawful authority he discloses any information, document or other article relating to security or intelligence which is or has been in his possession by virtue of his position as a member of any of those services or in the course of his work while the notification is or was in force.'


'10 Penalties.E+W+S+N.I.

(1)A person guilty of an offence under any provision of this Act other than section 8(1), (4) or (5) shall be liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine or both;

(b)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both.

(2)A person guilty of an offence under section 8(1), (4) or (5) above shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or both.'