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
and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.
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.
On 7 July 2009, Lord Mandelson, the Secretary of State, also
gave evidence on the structure of the Department. 
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.
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
Department for Innovation Universities and Skills, Departmental
Report 2009, Cm 7596 Back
HC (2008-09) HC754-i Back
HC (2008-09) HC754-ii Back
Business and Enterprise Committee, Ninth Report of Session 2008-09,
The Automotive Industry in the UK, HC 550, para 31 Back