Scientific advice in times of crisis – the government responds

In March I discussed a report by the UK parliament’s Science and Technology Committee which identifies a number of failings in the official response to national emergencies. The committee made a number of detailed recommendations to government, among which are improvements to the practice and communication of scientific risk assessment, and the role and location of the Government Office for Science.

The government response to the Science and Technology Committee report has just been published, and I’m afraid to say that it does not make for encouraging reading. The tone of the response to specific points made by the parliamentary committee is in many cases offhand, and some of the committee’s recommendations are not addressed at all. I understand that the committee has noted these omissions, and will be taking the matter up with the government.