Third update of guidelines on scientific advice published

Following a public consultation the government’s Chief Scientific Advisor Sir John Beddington has last week published the updated guidelines on the use of scientific advice within government.

The guidelines highlight key issues fed in by consultees, such as the importance of horizon scanning, engagement with representative bodies of the scientific community, using international sources of advice and, in particular, advice on engineering. Sir Beddington stressed the centrality of engineering in addressing today’s challenges, whilst Universities and Science Minister David Willetts spoke of the importance of making policy decisions using hard evidence.

Other recommendations to departments and policy makers included:
– identifying issues requiring advice and/or public engagement early;
– widening the range experts providing advice;
– adopting an open and transparent approach and publishing evidence quickly;
– explaining publicly the rationale behind policy decisions, especially where they are inconsistent with advice; and
– working collectively across government to adopt a joined-up approach.

More information on the work of the Government Office for Science, including Prof Beddington’s ‘Perfect Storm’ paper on the 21st century’s policy challenges, is on the BIS website.

See the British Ecological Society and Biochemical Society joint response to the consultation on the Guidelines.