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Science review of the Home Office

Science review of the Home Office

DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY News Release (P/2007/100) issued by The Government News Network on 22 May 2007

INFORMATION NOTE

A report of the first stage of a new study, examining how the Home Office manages and uses science, was today published by Sir David King, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, in the form of an open letter to Sir David Normington, the Home Office Permanent Secretary.

Every Government department needs to draw on the highest quality science and research as part of the policy-formulation process. The Home Office review is the fifth in a series looking at how each Government department can continue to improve its use of science.

The key recommendations contained in the report centre around the need for the Home Office to:

- make better use of science, especially in policy-making; and,

- adopt a more joined-up approach across the scientific disciplines in the department, especially between the natural and social sciences.

The reviews are also about sharing examples of good practice with other Government departments and the report commends the Home Office's approaches in a number of areas, in particular its processes for commissioning science and the use of secondees, such as from the police, to ensure it remains an 'intelligent customer' for science.

The first stage of the review included a public consultation exercise but further submissions of written evidence would be welcomed by the review team as the review progresses.

Notes to editors:

1. A copy of the report is available at: http://www.dti.gov.uk/science/science-in-govt/works/science-reviews/review/home_office/page35301.html

2. The Government's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King, has set up a rolling programme of reviews to assess the quality and use of science by Government departments. For the purposes of the reviews a broad definition of 'science' is used, which includes natural and social sciences.

3. The overall aims of the review programme are to:

a. Maintain and improve the quality and use of science in government;

b. Review existing departmental systems for assuring the quality, management and use of their science;

c. Disseminate examples of best practice from within the UK and abroad;

d. Inform and support the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser in his role of "advising the Prime Minister and the Cabinet on the overall health of science and scientific research funded by Government departments".

4. To formulate a view on the quality and use of science in the Home Office, the review focused on ten success criteria that underpin good practice in the use of science by Government departments, to identify both areas of good practice, especially those that could be adopted elsewhere, as well as areas for improvement.

5. The first Science Review, of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, was published in October 2004. The review of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was published in December 2006 and reviews of the Health and Safety Executive and Communities and Local Government were published earlier this year: http://www.dti.gov.uk/science/science-in-govt/works/science-reviews/review/page24792.html

6. Further submissions of written evidence would be welcomed by the review team. Please contact Andrew Kruszewski (andrew.kruszewski@dti.gsi.gov.uk) before the end of July 2007. The final report on the Home Office's use of science is due to be published later this year.

7. Since the Home Office review began, it has been announced that some of the department's responsibilities are to be moved to the new Ministry of Justice. However, the review findings so far remain relevant and it is OSI's intention that the review will continue to look at science in both the Home Office's remaining areas of responsibility and those that are being moved to the new Ministry (e.g. the National Offender Management Service and the Office for Criminal Justice Reform).

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