MPs quiz over use of advice

February 17, 2006

MPs this week expressed amazement at the Government's failure to monitor the use and effectiveness of consultants in drawing up the scientific advice that informs policy decisions.

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee heard evidence from the Government's Chief Social Researcher Sue Duncan, as part of its inquiry into how the Government handles scientific advice and evidence in drawing up policy. Ms Duncan admitted that Whitehall departments did not evaluate the use or effectiveness of consultants.

Phil Willis, chair of the committee, told The Times Higher : "I was amazed by that."

He added that the committee felt that lip service was paid to the Scientific Analysis in Policy Making guidelines that government departments were supposed to adhere to. "This is in conflict with the Government's policy that evidence should determine all policy decisions," he said.

Sir David King, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government, told MPs that monitoring the use of the guidelines would form part of his review of government departments. These are supposed to be carried out every three years.

"We've come a long way but this is a bit of a tanker that needs turning," he said.

Sir David and Ms Duncan told the committee they would like to publish the scientific evidence that informs their advice to government after policy is decided.

"The question is whether ministers will be as keen on this transparency as he is," committee member Evan Harris said.

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

PhD Position within Marine Structures

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

PhD Position in Biogas-Hydrogen

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Director, Engineering and IT Learning Unit

The University Of Melbourne
See all jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Laurel and Hardy sawing a plank of wood

Working with other academics can be tricky so follow some key rules, say Kevin O'Gorman and Robert MacIntosh

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework