Select Committee on Science and Technology First Report


1. This is the Committee's second Annual Report. Select committee annual reports follow a recommendation from the Liaison Committee for each committee to establish a set of core tasks against which to measure performance, with the aim of providing an improved structure for the scrutiny of Government departments by select committees. This Report sets the activities of the Committee over 2003 in the context of the 12 core tasks. These have been adapted from the Liaison Committee template to take account of the unique position of the Office of Science and Technology (OST) within the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the role of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) in promoting the use of science across Government.[1] The Report also follows up some of the more general issues raised in last year's Annual Report and highlights some of the ways in which the Committee has exerted influence and provoked a response. Of course, measuring influence on policy is not an exact science—cause and effect are not always easily traced or readily acknowledged-so our examples included in Box 3 are necessarily subjective.

2. During the year we held 29 meetings and took oral evidence at 25 of them. We published eight Reports and pursued major inquiries into EU funding of science, light pollution and astronomy and the scientific response to terrorism. Most of our inquiries cover more than one of our core tasks and precise categorisation is not always easy. Table 1 provides an indication of how we have met our objectives in the year.[2] It includes Reports published as well as evidence sessions held in 2003.[3]

1   See Box 1 below. Back

2   A full list of Reports published this Parliament is included at the back of this Report. For a fuller statistical account of the Committee's activities, see the Sessional Return for 2002-03, HC 1 of 2003-04. Back

3   Inquiries announced in 2003 but for which no evidence sessions have not yet been held will be covered in next year's Annual Report. Back

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Prepared 20 January 2004