Departments should retain 'in house' sufficient expertise to ensure that the advice of advisory committees, and the reasoning behind it, can be understood and evaluated.
Government departments must review advice given by advisory committees to ensure that the reasons for it are understood and appear to be sound.
The proceedings of the [scientific advisory] committee should be as open as is compatible with the requirements of confidentiality.
The public should be trusted to respond rationally to openness.
Potential conflicts of interest should not preclude selection of those members otherwise best qualified, but conflicts of interest should be declared and registered.
When giving advice, an advisory committee should make it clear what principles, if any, of risk management are being applied.
Contingency planning is a vital part of government. The existence of advisory committees is not an alternative to this. The advisory committees should, where their advice will be of value, be asked to assist in contingency planning.
When a precautionary measure is introduced, rigorous thought must be given to every aspect of its operation with a view to ensuring that it is watertight.
It is not always clear in practice where responsibility rests as between ministers, officials and advisory committees for advising, determining policy and taking key decisions on medicines. This should be clarified, so as to ensure that important policy decisions are taken by, or approved by, ministers, whether those decisions are to take action or to take no action.
The progress of research and the implications of any new developments must be kept under continuous and open review.