LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSIONS
Departmental performance targets
1. We recommend that in future the Department
publish the technical notes with the Public Service Agreement
itself. Doing so might prevent the impression that the targets
are insubstantial (paragraph 8).
2. We recommend that the DTI publish its Delivery
Plan in full on its website, as well as the headline Service Delivery
Agreement (paragraph 9).
3. We recommend that the Department demonstrate
its commitment to openness by publishing its Business Plan on
its website (paragraph 10).
4. We appreciate that it is not easy to encapsulate
what a Department is expected to achieve in a few clear and measurable
targets, and the PSA targets for science and technology are not
a bad effort. However, they are far too general and high-level
to allow judgement of OST's performance. ... We believe that OST
should be more open about its detailed performance targets and
intend to pursue this with the Department (paragraph 11).
5. The proliferation of documents and acronyms
- PSAs, SDAs, Technical Notes, Strategic Frameworks, Delivery
Plans and Business Plans - is highly confusing to the outsider.
We recommend that the Government rationalise these publications,
for the sake of greater clarity and transparency (paragraph 13).
Departmental Annual Report
6. The present lay-out of the DTI Annual Report
makes it difficult to distinguish clearly between the activities
and expenditure of OST and those of other parts of DTI (paragraph
7. We recommend that OST consider publishing
an annual activity report of its own. If it does not, we recommend
that there should be a self-contained OST section within the DTI
Annual Report (paragraph 16).
8. We regret the loss of financial detail
in the Departmental Report, and the further proliferation of documents,
though we accept that the readership for the more technical financial
tables will be small. Departmental Annual Reports are a valuable
source of factual information and a crucial element in Departments'
accountability to Parliament: they must not become merely a glossy
presentation of the Department's activities and aspirations (paragraph
Spending Review 2002
9. OST's figures show an increase in the Science
Budget of £660 million from 2003-04 to 2005-06. ... The increase
in the Science Budget brought about by the Spending Review 2002
is more accurately represented as £660 million, not as £890
million. The way in which the Spending Review White Paper presents
the increases to science spending is misleading and leaves the
Government open to accusations of double-counting (paragraph 21).
10. The additional funds for Research Council
programmes are very welcome, though the emphasis on funding of
new science gives us some concern: valuable existing programmes
must be maintained too (paragraph 23).
11. We intend to take evidence from the Science
Minister in November 2002, when the Science Budget allocations
have been published (paragraph 24).
Higher Education funding
12. We welcome the additional funds for research
infrastructure announced in the Spending Review and the fact that
it will be provided through an ongoing capital funding stream,
which should facilitate long-term planning (paragraph 25).
13. We also welcome the increase in resource
funding for higher education research, which will go some way
towards remedying the longstanding imbalance in the dual funding
system ... Much depends on the outcome of the DfES's current review
of higher education strategy which the sector awaits with trepidation
Departmental science budgets
14. While the Science Budget, and to some
extent the Higher Education budget, has done well out of the Spending
Review, its impact on the science and research budgets of other
departments remains to be seen. ... We welcome the steps being
taken by Government to improve the quality and fitness for purpose
in scientific research by departments. It must also ensure that
this research is adequately funded (paragraph 27).
15. We are pleased that the Government has
now published the Cross-Cutting Review of Science and Research
in full. It is a very useful document and we find it hard to understand
why it was not published at the time of the Spending Review. We
recommend that the Government publish such important policy documents
in future, without waiting for prompting by our Select Committee
16. It is ironic that it has taken so long
to bring transparency to the Transparency Review (paragraph 29).
Responsibility for science policy
17. We welcome the close interest being taken
by the Treasury in science and engineering, particularly since
this has led to additional funding, but responsibility for policy-making
in this area must lie clearly with the OST (paragraph 30).
European Union funding
18. We recommend that the OST carry out a
detailed analysis of the costs and benefits of the Framework 5
programme to UK science, and that this analysis be published (paragraph
19. The European Framework 6 programme is
responsible for the outlay of considerable sums of public money:
the UK Government must monitor it closely to ensure that the commitment
to more efficient management is achieved in practice (paragraph
20. We intend to take evidence from the new
Director of Innovation at DTI at an early opportunity. It will
be essential for the new Innovation Group to work very closely
with the OST, if it is to achieve what was intended (paragraph
Arts and Humanities Research Board
21. We welcome the proposal for an Arts and
Humanities Research Council under the OST and will be following
developments closely, as this change has considerable implications
for the future of OST and its place within Government (paragraph
Council for Science and Technology
22. We share the view of our predecessor Committee
that the work of the Council for Science and Technology should
be better publicised (paragraph 42).
23. We welcome OST's decision to commission
an independent evaluation of the Cambridge/MIT Institute and recommend
that it be published when complete. ... The decision to fund the
CMI, made outside the usual Science Budget allocation process,
is somewhat curious, and we intend to ensure that its effectiveness
is monitored (paragraph 48).
24. We hope that the Department will recognise
the value of effective scrutiny, and ensure that OST is resourced
appropriately to meet the reasonable demands and expectations
of Parliament (paragraph 49).