Memorandum from Sir Anthony Cleaver, Chairman,
Medical Research Council
I understand that at your Committee's final
evidence session yesterday, Council members were asked about the
scope for reconvening the MRC Task Force and/or deploying some
different process (or body) to progress the future of NIMR.
I thought you might find it helpful if I were
to clarify some of the fundamental governance issues from my perspective
as Council Chair.
Governance of the MRC mirrors that for all Non-Departmental
Public Bodies (NDPBs), ensuring a level of independence from the
executive. Council members are drawn from the academic community
and from our other key stakeholder groups (NHS, industry, lay).
They are appointed by the Minister for Science following public
advertisement. The chair and members are all non-executive appointments,
with the CEO serving as a full member.
The Council and the executive takes seriously
its custodianship of and accountability for public funds. In MRC
the Council aims to manage an unusually broad mix of stakeholder
inputs to our business. All decision-making is informed by advice
from a range of stakeholderswhether through advisory committees,
consultation, or other networks and fora. The Council strives
to balance and to weight advice from different sources, to draw
on Council members' own high-level experience and judgement, and
to be open about the process by which decisions are reached.
I have every confidence that the Council will
continue to apply these principles in determining how best to
take forward plans for the renewed NIMR. As with all other major
corporate investments this will be done in conjunction with the
executive, selected partners, NIMR staff and OST/RCUK. The Council
recognises the importance, not least for staff, of maintaining
momentum while preserving the quality and robustness of its corporate
In all complex projects there are lessons to
be learned and I have no doubt your report will be helpful in
drawing attention to these. We welcome the opportunity provided
by your inquiry to clarify even more publicly the MRC's overall
vision for the renewed institute and the strategy for implementing