The Government's review of the principles applying to the treatment of independent scientific advice provided to government - Science and Technology Committee Contents

Letter from The Rt Hon Lord Drayson, Minister for Science and Innovation, to the Chairman of the Committee, 15 December 2009

  As you are aware, I have been working to establish a set of principles to underpin the provision of independent scientific advice to, and its use by, the Government. I am pleased to say these Principles were published on 15 December for consultation, and I enclose a copy for your information.

  The purpose of the Principles is to clarify the relationship between advice and policy, as well as strengthen public trust in the process. They cover three key areas—trust and respect, independence, and transparency and openness—and were informed by the outputs of informal meetings with, amongst others, colleagues across government, Scientific Advisory Committees, Learned Societies, and representatives of the science media.

  I read with interest the Select Committee's report on the treatment of independent scientific advice to government (published 14 November 2009). I consider it to be a valuable contribution to the Government's thinking on this issue, and will give careful consideration to the Committee's recommendations.

  I have invited the science and engineering communities, together with other interested parties, to engage with Professor Beddington's public consultation on updating the Guidelines for the Use of Scientific Analysis in Policy Making, and to input their views on the Principles published today by Government. The consultation was launched 17 November 2009 and will close 9 February 2010. I will consider consultation inputs, alongside the Committee's report, and expect the Government to publish finalised Principles of Scientific Advice to Government during Spring 2010.

The Rt Hon Lord Drayson

Minister for Science and Innovation

December 2009

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