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House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology
Consultation: Scientific Advice, Risk and Evidence – How Government Handles Them

The response is structured according to the Inquiry’s five main topics. Given the breadth of expertise represented by ISSTI we have chosen to focus on some generic issues that are germane to the use of scientific advice and, in particular, the application of social science knowledge and expertise in policy-making. However, a number of researchers within ISSTI are expert in issues such as the dependability of computer-based systems and information policy including privacy protection and public access to information which would be relevant to the Committee’s case study on the technologies supporting the Government’s proposals for identity cards should the Committee wish to pursue this with the individuals concerned.

In summary, we would wish to emphasise the need to foster cultural change within Government policy-making which embeds dialogue, learning and effective co-ordination of cross-cutting issues within the policy-making process, as the issues generated by the governance of science and technology are too complex to use a simple, ‘one size fits all’ approach to evidence-based policy.