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.
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 sciencecause
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.
It includes Reports published as well as evidence sessions held
1 See Box 1 below. Back
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
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