Supplementary memorandum from John Denham
MP, Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities
I read with interest the transcript of the evidence
which Ian Pearson and his three Ministerial colleagues gave to
your Committee on 21 April.
I thought it might be helpful to your Committee
to highlight some of the steps which my department is taking in
relation to biosecurity.
We welcome the publication of Sir John Beringer's
report on the governance of the Institute of Animal Health (IAH),
and BBSRC's prompt statement about its commitment to making progress
following the Anderson and Beringer reports. BBSRC had previously
recognised that the governance of IAH needed to be re-examined,
which is why it commissioned the Beringer report.
As a short term measure BBSRC has accepted a
request from the IAH Governing Body that it should become the
sole corporate trustee for IAH. I welcome this more direct assumption
of responsibility for IAH by BBSRC. BBSRC and IAH are seeking
to achieve this change by the summer recess, although the timing
is also dependent on the Charity Commission.
In relation to the medium term, the next step
is for the Government to respond to the recommendations in the
Anderson report about a strategic overview of exotic animal disease
research. DIUS is committed to working urgently with Defra to
help provide an appropriate way forward on this. DIUS fully recognises
its responsibility to provide modern animal health research facilities
which allow the highest standards of biosecurity to be maintained,
given the variety of challenges in terms of animal health which
this country will face in the years ahead.