The creation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Departmental Annual Report 2008-09 - Business, Innovation and Skills Committee Contents


1  Introduction

1. The new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) was created in June 2009 by merging the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS). Those Departments were themselves relatively new having been established in June 2007. During the 2007 machinery of government change, BERR took over most of the functions of the former Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and gained oversight of regulation from the Cabinet Office. DIUS took over responsibility for science and innovation from the DTI and higher education responsibilities from the former Department for Education and Skills.

2. The new Permanent Secretary of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills,
Mr Simon Fraser, gave evidence to the Committee on 13 October 2009. The session was ostensibly to discuss the Departmental Reports of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform[1] and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.[2] However, given the fact that those two Departments had been merged to form the new Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the evidence session concentrated on the new Department's structure, and the challenges and risks it would face in the future.

3. The Committee asked stakeholders representing the university and business sectors for their opinion on the newly formed Department in June 2009.[3] On 7 July 2009, Lord Mandelson, the Secretary of State, also gave evidence on the structure of the Department. [4] This report draws on these evidence sessions in gaining an impression of both the rationale and effectiveness of the new Department.

4. While this Report concentrates on the structure of DBIS, our evidence session with the Permanent Secretary covered a wide number of policy areas. We have deliberately not covered all of them in this Report. But we believe that it is important to highlight one area, the Automotive Assistance Programme, which is causing us serious concern. In our Report on the automotive programme in July 2009, we expressed our disappointment that as at that date "not one single penny" had been advanced through the scheme.[5] As we explore later on in this Report, the oral evidence session with the Permanent Secretary did not completely ease our concerns.


1   Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, Annual Report and Accounts 2008-09, HC 447 Back

2   Department for Innovation Universities and Skills, Departmental Report 2009, Cm 7596 Back

3   HC (2008-09) HC754-i Back

4   HC (2008-09) HC754-ii Back

5   Business and Enterprise Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2008-09, The Automotive Industry in the UK, HC 550, para 31 Back


 
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Prepared 15 December 2009