Select committees are pretty much the only place in parliament where MPs do what you’d naively hope they do all the time: sit down, hear a lot of evidence on an important issue, and then have a good hard think about it. In February the Department for Innovations, Universities, Science and Skills asked you what they should be looking at. Now they’ve identified a few key areas, and have formally requested government to report back on what evidence they have to underpin their activities in each one. Subjects include regulations for synthetic biology, the teaching of ‘pseudoscience’ at universities (which I suggested last time!), screening, the licensing of homeopathic products by the MHRA, the use of offender data, and more. They’re asking you for more, and you should give them your suggestion, instructions and email below.
Evidence based policy is really important, and it’s definitely worth getting involved in this kind of thing, especially since it looks like a few of the subjects they’re already looking at are drawn from the suggestions sent in by you and archived in the comments here:
Now go forth, my fellow nerds, and participate!
INNOVATION, UNIVERSITIES, SCIENCE & SKILLS
Select Committee Announcement
3 August 2009
In preparation for the creation of the Science and Technology Committee on 1 October, the IUSS Committee is commissioning work to assess the Government’s use of evidence in policy-making. The Committee has written to the Government on a number of topics and asked two questions: (1) What is the policy? (2) On what evidence is the policy based?
The topics are:
– the licensing of homeopathic products by the MHRA
– the diagnosis and management of dyslexia
– swine flu vaccinations
– literacy and numeracy interventions
– the teaching of ‘pseudoscience’ at universities
– health checks for over 40s
– measuring the benefits of publicly-funding research
– the future of genetic modification (GM) technologies
– the regulation of synthetic biology
– the use of offender data.
The Committee will review the Government’s response in October.
Additionally, the Committee is calling on the public to identify other areas of government policy that require an ‘evidence check’ and be subject to the two questions above. Topics must be within the remit of the new Committee-to look at all matters within the responsibility of the Government Office for Science, including cross-departmental responsibility for scientific and engineering advice-and should also:
– be capable of being covered in a maximum of two oral evidence sessions if the Committee decides to follow up the initial evidence check (each of which could involve two or three sets of witnesses)
– be timely
– not relate to individual cases/matters before Courts or Tribunals.
Please send us, in 750 words or fewer:
– your suggested topic
– why it should be evidence checked in late 2009/early 2010
– your suggested witnesses, should an oral evidence session/sessions take place.
You should also declare any interests you have in making the suggestion.
Please email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 October 2009.
Previous press notices and publications are available on our website.
Committee Membership is as follows:
Mr Phil Willis (Liberal Democrat, Harrogate and Knaresborough)(Chairman)
Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods (Labour, City of Durham)
Mr Tim Boswell (Conservative, Daventry)
Mr Ian Cawsey (Labour, Brigg & Goole)
Mrs Nadine Dorries (Conservative, Mid Bedfordshire)
Dr Evan Harris (Liberal Democrat, Oxford West & Abingdon)
Dr Brian Iddon (Labour, Bolton South East)
Mr Gordon Marsden (Labour, Blackpool South)
Dr Bob Spink (UK Independence Party, Castle Point)
Ian Stewart (Labour, Eccles)
Mr Graham Stringer (Labour, Manchester, Blackley)
Dr Desmond Turner (Labour, Brighton Kemptown)
Mr Rob Wilson (Conservative, Reading East)
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House of Commons Select Committee Media Officer
Children, Schools & Families; Health; Innovation, Universities, Science & Skills; Northern Ireland; Scotland; Wales