The scrutiny of the Office of Science and Innovation (OSI) is one of our core tasks. This is the first such Report from our Committee in the current Parliament.
During the period covered by this Report, there have been major changes in structure at the OSI. The merger of the OSI and the DTI Innovation Group has been a success and we congratulate those involved in this.
There have also been developments in establishing a new performance management system to assess the effectiveness of its work. We have concerns about the transparency and practicality of some aspects of the OSI's performance targets and measures, which should be addressed.
There have been welcome increases in the Science Budget, including the above inflation annual rises over the next spending round announced in the 2007 Budget. In addition, the Next Steps document published with the Budget in March 2006 is a welcome confirmation of the Government's continued commitment to science and innovation. However, we deprecate the breaching of the principle of the ring-fenced budget for science which occurred earlier this year.
An important part of the OSI's work is its reviews of the use of science in Government departments. These reviews are of value but the pace of review and the information available about them on the OSI website need to be improved.
We welcome the incoming Minister for Science and Innovation to his new role and look forward to regular dialogue with him as he seeks to implement his vision for science.