Direct Communications Unit 2 Marsham Street_ London SW1P 4DF by maclaren1

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									                                     Direct Communications Unit
                                  2 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DF
              Switchboard 020 7035 4848 Fax: 020 7035 4745 Textphone: 020 7035 4742
           E-mail: Website:

Mr Charlie Burton

                                                                                1 July 2009
Dear Mr Burton

Freedom of Information Act 2000 request

I am writing further to my letter of 2nd June and with reference to your
information request of 5th March about the disclosure of information held by
the Home Office. The length of time it has taken to conclude this case, has
been necessary to collate the information and to fully consider the public
interest in relation to qualified exemptions. We are now in a position to provide
you with a reply to your request.

Your request was:
“I would like to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act. I would
be very grateful if you would provide me with a list of scientific advisory
councils and committees, or ad hoc groups that you have convened or
consulted for scientific advice since 1997.
For each of these could you please provide details of when they met, who was
present, and the topic of discussion.”
I am pleased to be able to disclose most of the information that we collated in
response to your request. Please find this information enclosed together with
relevant explanatory context. The full list of information we are providing you
is available at Annex A. However, some of the information we hold about two
of the groups listed at Annex A is exempt from disclosure (the Chemical
Biological Radiological Nuclear Resilience Advisory Group and the Scientific
Panel for Emergency Response [SAPER]). The membership of these groups
is exempt from disclosure under section 40(2) of the FOI Act on the basis that
disclosure would breach the Data Protection Act, and information about the
topics covered by SAPER is exempt under section 31(1)(a) as disclosure
would prejudice the prevention and detection of crime.

Furthermore, I neither confirm nor deny whether (under section 23(5)) any
further information is held, which was either supplied by or relates to the
security bodies listed in section 23(3) of the FOI Act, or which otherwise
relates to national security. You should not take this statement to be an
indication that such information either is or is not held by the department.

Further details about the application of exemptions can be found in Annex B;
and should you be dissatisfied with this response, details of your rights of
complaint can be found in Annex C.

I hope that you will find the information disclosed to you of interest, and I
would like to reassure you that where used, the application of exemptions has
been considered with great care in this case. The Home Office always seeks
to provide as much information as it is able to.

Yours sincerely

Iain Williams
Head of the Science Secretariat

       Annex A. Index of information provided (as of 5 March 2009)
Name of Advisory Committee Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs          Animal Procedures Committee (APC)              Biometric Assurance Group (BAG)
including standing sub-      (ACMD) and standing committee and              and standing committees and working
committees                   working groups                                 groups
                             • ACMD was established in 1971 and is          • APC was formed in 1986 under the             • BAG was formed in November 2005 and
Duration of Existence/       ongoing                                        Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986       is ongoing
Frequency of meetings        • 2-3 meetings per annum of full council       and is ongoing                                 • 3-5 meetings per annum
                             plus meetings of standing committee and        • 4-5 meetings per annum plus standing
                             working groups. Information on the             committee and ad hoc working group
                             working groups is available on the ACMD        meetings. Information on standing
                             web site                                       committees and working groups are
                                                                            published each year in the APC annual
                                                                            report and on the ‘Minutes of Meetings’
                                                                            page on the APC web site
                             2000: 25 May; 16 Nov                           1999: 10 Feb; 7 April; 12 May; 30 June; 8      2006: 25 Feb; 15 May; 26 Sep; 11 Dec;
                             2001: 31 May; 7 Nov                            Sept; 13 Oct; 10 Nov; 8 Dec                    2007: 15 Mar; 12 June; 15 Sep;
Meeting dates                2002: 15 Jan; 30 May; 28 Nov                   2000: 9 Feb; 12 April; 28 Jun; 13 Sept; 13     2008: 15 Jan; 26 Mar, 9 June, 15 Sep, 8 Dec
                             2003: 1 April; 6 Nov                           Dec
                             2004: 1 April; 4 Nov                           2001: 14 Feb; 9 May; 12 Sep; 10 Oct; 12
                             2005: 19 May; 24 Nov                           Dec
                             2006: 25 May; 23 Nov                           2002: 13 Feb; 10 April; 26 June; 9 Oct; 11
                             2007: 24 May; 29 Nov                           Dec
                             2008: 19 May; 25 Nov                           2003: 12 Feb; 9 April; 25 June; 18 Dec
                                                                            2004: 14 April; 23 June; 13 Oct
                                                                            2005: 9 Feb; 13 April; 22 June; 12 Oct; 14
                                                                            2006: 8 Feb; 12 April; 21 June; 11 Oct; 13
                                                                            2007: 14 Feb; 12 April; 10 Oct; 12 Dec
                                                                            2008: 13 Feb; 18 June; 8 Oct; 10 Dec
                                                                            2009: 11 Feb
                             • Detailed in the meetings minutes available   • Details of current topics are available in   • Independent peer review of the approach
                             on the ACMD web site                           the current work programme page on the         to biometric testing
Topics covered               • Terms of reference can be found on the       APC web site and in the annual APC             • Requirements and proposed solutions of
                             ACMD Terms of reference web page               reports dating back to 1987 which are          programmes in UK government which use

                             • Annual reports dating back to 2001          available on the APC web site. Recent          biometrics
                             available on the ACMD website                 reports and publications are listed on the
                                                                           Home Page of the APC web site.                 .


Membership                   • Published on the membership page on the     • Published on the membership page on the      • Membership details of the Biometric
                             ACMD website and listed in each annual        APC web site and listed in the annual report   Assurance Group are published in the
                             report                                                                                       annual report on the Identity and Passport
                                                                                                                          Service website.

Web address                       
                             laws/acmd/                                                                                   FINAL-BAG-annual-report-2007-v1_0.pdf

Name of Advisory Committee   Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear      Forensic Science Advisory Council              National DNA Database Ethics Group
including standing sub-      Resilience Advisory Group (CBRN)              (FSC)
                             • CBRN was formed in 2004 and is ongoing      •. Established in November 2007 and            • Established in September 2007
Duration of Existence/       • Quarterly meetings per annum                ongoing                                        • Ongoing meetings held quarterly
Frequency of meetings                                                      • 4-6 Meetings per year
                             2007: 3 Oct; 13 Dec                           2007:19 Nov                                    2007: 3 Sept; 13 Dec
                             2008: 4 Mar; 18 June; 16 Sept; 10 Dec         2008: 22 Jan; 18 Feb; 7 April; 23 June; 15     2008: 13 Mar; 5 June; 18 Sept; 18 Dec
Meeting dates                2009: 8 Apr                                   Sept; 1-2 Dec                                  2009: 4 Mar
                                                                           2009: 2 Mar
                             • To provide scientific review of proposals                                                  • Advice on ethical issues around the
                                                                           • Advise and support the Forensic Science
                             and ongoing work within the Home Office       Regulator across a wide range of issues        operation and practice of the National DNA
Topics covered               CBRN Science & Technology Programme                                                          database
                                                                           relevant to quality standards in forensic
                             • To provide scientific input and advice to
                             technical working groups that directly or
                             indirectly support provision of improved
                             UK capability to deal with CBRN terrorism
                             • To provide scientific input and advice to

              policy documents where there is a major
              technical aspect
              • To highlight technical developments that
              may benefit the development of improved
              UK ability to reduce the risk of CBRN

Membership    • Not available                              • Published on the Forensic Science           • Published on the Forensic Science
              Membership details withheld under section    advisory council web site                     Regulator NDAD Ethics Group web page
              40(2) of the FOI Act, see Annex B.                                                         on the Home Office web site and listed in
                                                                                                         the annual report

Web address   Not applicable                     
                                                           -policing/forensic-science-                   -policing/forensic-science-
                                                           regulator/forensic-advisory-council/          regulator/ndnad-ethics-group/

Name of Advisory Committee   DNA Analysis Specialist Group                 Quality Standards Specialist Group            Digital Forensics Specialist Group
including standing sub-
Duration of Existence/       • Established July 2008                       •. Established July 2008                      • Established July 2008
Frequency of meetings        • Ongoing meetings held quarterly             • Ongoing meetings held quarterly             • Ongoing meetings held quarterly
                             2008: 10 July, 19 Aug, 17 Dec                 2008: 8 July, 19 Sept, 11 Dec                 2008: 8 July, 9 Oct
                                                                           2009: 24 Feb                                  2009: 25 Feb
Meeting dates
                             • Reviewing current DNA standards                                                           • Identifying requirements for new
                                                                           • Advice on the preparation implementation
                             in forensic DNA analysis                                                                    standards in the provision of digital forensic
                                                                           and monitoring of quality standards in
Topics covered                                                                                                           services to the Criminal Justice System
                                                                           forensic science

Membership                   • Published on the Forensic Science           • Published on the Forensic Science           • Published on the Forensic Science
                             Regulator specialist groups web page on the   Regulator specialist groups web page on the   Regulator specialist groups web page on the
                             Home Office web site                          Home Office web site                          Home Office web site

Web address        
                             -policing/forensic-science-                   -policing/forensic-science-                   -policing/forensic-science-
                             regulator/specialist-groups/                  regulator/specialist-groups/                  regulator/specialist-groups/

Name of Advisory Committee   Forensic Pathology Specialist Group           Practitioner Standards Specialist Group       End User Specialist Group
including standing sub-
                             • Established November 2008                   •. Established June 2008                      • Established July 2008
Duration of Existence/       • Ongoing meetings held quarterly             • Ongoing                                     • Ongoing meetings held quarterly

Frequency of meetings
                             2008: 14 Nov                                  2008: 17 June; 5 Sept                           2008: 22 July; 25 Nov
                             2009: 26 Feb
Meeting dates
                             • Forensic pathology quality standards and                                                    • End user requirement for forensic science
                                                                           • Reviewed the accreditation of practitioners
                             guidance                                                                                      services
                                                                           and advised on implementation and
Topics covered                                                             monitoring of practitioner standards

Membership                   • Membership listed below as not yet          • Published on the Forensic Science             • Published on the Forensic Science
                             published on the web site                     Regulator specialist groups web page on the     Regulator specialist groups web page on the
                                                                           Home Office web site                            Home Office web site

Web address        
                             -policing/forensic-science-                   -policing/forensic-science-                     -policing/forensic-science-
                             regulator/specialist-groups/                  regulator/specialist-groups/                    regulator/specialist-groups/

Name of Advisory Committee   Home Office Science Advisory Committee          Surveys, Design and Statistics sub-             Home Office Information, Systems and
including standing sub-      (HOSAC)1                                        committee (SDSSC)                               Technology advisory group (HO IST)
                             • HOSAC was established in 2003                 • SDSSC was established                         • HO IST was established
Duration of Existence/       • 2- 3 meetings per annum                         in October 2007 as a                            in November 2008 as a
Frequency of meetings                                                          HOSAC sub-committee                             HOSAC sub-committee.
                                                                             • 3-4 meetings per annum                        • Ad-hoc

        Formerly known as the Home Office Science and Technology Reference Group. The name of the Committee was formally changed to the Home Office
       Science Advisory Committee in July 2007.

                 2003: 30 Oct                                  2007: 23 Oct; 17 Dec                        2008: 26 Nov
Meeting dates    2004: 3 Feb; 7 July                           2008: 15 Apr; 10 Jun; 23 Sep
                 2005: 28 Feb; 12 Oct                          2009: 20 Jan;
                 2006: 6 Apr; 21 Nov
                 2007: 13 Jul; 30 Nov
                 2008: 22 Jan; 15 May; 14 Oct
                 2009: 28 Jan
                 Topics include:                               • British Crime Survey
                                                                                                           • Systems and Technology Strategy
                 • Departmental Science Business               • Migration Statistics
                                                                                                           • Development of Information
Topics covered     Plans                                       • Crime Statistics                          Management (IM) Strategy
                 • Science and Innovation Strategy             • Drugs surveys
                 • Government Office for Science               • Localisation of crime data                • Enterprise Architecture approach
                   Review of the Home Office                   • Response to the UK Statistics Authority   • IT and IM systems and processes
                 • ID Cards                                     •Consultation: ‘Official Statistics:       • Next Generation Information Systems
                                                                 Serving the Public Good’.                 Technology Transformation programme.

Membership       • Published on the Committee’s web pages on   • Published on the Committee’s web pages    • Membership list attached below
                 the Home Office web site                      on the Home Office website

Web address
                 ence-advisory-committee/                      cience-advisory-committee/                  cience-advisory-committee/

Name of Advisory Committee   Migration Advisory Committee (MAC)            Policy Advisory Board for Forensic              Policy Advisory Board for Forensic
including standing sub-                                                    Pathology                                       Pathology Scientific Standards
committees                                                                                                                 Committee
                             •. MAC was formed in 2007 and is ongoing      • Created in 1991 following Wasserman           • Created in 1991
Duration of Existence/       • Usually once a month                        Report.                                         • It met at approximately 3-6 months
Frequency of meetings                                                      • It met every 12 to 18 months                  intervals.
                                                                           Disbanded in 2006                               Disbanded in 2006
                             2007: 7 Dec
Meeting dates                2008: 11 meetings
                             2009: 6 Feb and 6 Mar
                                                                           • The Board oversaw the provision of
                             • Reviewing the shortage occupation lists                                                     • The group advised on standards related to
                                                                           forensic pathology services in England and
                             and defining skilled occupations                                                              forensic pathology
Topics covered                                                             Wales and considered all matters related to
                             • Worker registration schemes
                                                                           that subject. This included standards related
                                                                           to the performance of forensic pathology.

Membership                   • Published on the Committee’s web pages on   • Membership changed over period, 2005          • Membership changed over period, 2006

                             the Home Office website                        membership attached                           membership attached

Web address        

Name of Advisory Committee    Police Science and Technology                 Future Scanning Sub-Committee2                  Co-ordination Sub-committee2
including standing sub-       Strategy Group (PSTSG)2
                             • Police Science and Technology Strategy       • The Futures Scanning Sub-Committee of         • The Co-ordination Sub-committee of PSTSG
Duration of Existence/       Group was established in July 2002.            PSTSG was established as a sub-group of the     was established as a sub-committee of the
Frequency of meetings        • approx quarterly meetings                    Police and Technology Strategy Group in         Police Science and Technology Strategy
                                                                            February 2003.                                  Group in April 2003.
                                                                            •Approx quarterly meetings                      • Approx quarterly meetings
                             2002: 16 July; 16 Sept; 24 Oct                 2003: 25 Feb; 25 Mar; 8 May; 15 July; 29        2003: 15 May; 30 June; 2 Oct
                             2003: 10 Feb; 7 April; 7 July; 13 Oct; 8 Dec   Sept; 2 Dec                                     2004: 26 Feb; 26 May; 9 Aug; 15 Nov
Meeting dates                2004: 15 Mar; 14 June; 4 Oct                   2004: 9 Feb; 28 May; 9 Aug; 15 Nov              2005: 7 Feb; 29 Apr; 25 Jul; 10 Nov
                             2005: 4 Jan; 12 May                            2005: 29 April; 25 July

         Responsibility for the administration of the Police Science and Technology Strategy Group and it sub-groups (Future Scanning Sub Committee and the Co-
       ordination Sub-Committee) transferred to the National Policing Improvement Agency during 2006, no further information is held by the Home Office beyond
       that date.

                             •Providing advice to Home Secretary on the      • Identification and assessment of scientific     • Science and technology projects being
                             overall strategic management and funding of     and technological innovations that may have       conducted for/by the police.       •
Topics covered               policing based police science and technology,   an impact on policing and/or crime.               Identification of appropriate criteria for setting
                             and advice on the use of powers of direction.   •Commissioning further investigation to           national standards for the development of
                             •Development and review of, Police Science      ensure sufficient detail is available for         science and technology projects.
                             and Technology Strategy.                        analysis and recommendations to be made.          • Identification of key areas for increasing
                             •Monitoring and evaluation to provide           •Advising Police Strategy Group on the            common implementation standards of the
                             strategic overview and advice on key policing   threats and opportunities and relevant action     above criteria.
                             science and technology projects.                to be taken.
                                                                             •Maintain effective links with key internal and
                                                                             external stakeholders.
                             Membership published in Strategy Report         Membership list attached                                     Membership list attached
Membership                   published 16 Jan 2003
                             Strategy Report published 26 May 2004
Web address        

Name of Advisory Committee   Migration Impacts Forum (MIF)                   Scientific Panel for Emergency Response
including standing sub-                                                      (SAPER)

                         • Established in June 2007                       •Established in 2002
Duration of Existence/   • Aims to meet quarterly                         • 1-3 times a year
Frequency of meetings                                                     Disbanded in 2008
                         2007: 21 June; 17 Oct                            2003: 22 April; 7 Oct
                         2008: 16 Jan; 21 May; 16 July; 15 Oct            2004: 21 July; 23 Nov
Meeting dates            2009: 27 Jan                                     2005: 21 July
                                                                          2006: 16 Feb; 22 July; 19 Oct
                                                                          2007: 1 Mar; 27 Oct

                         • Work by the Office of National Statistics to   Withheld under section 31(1)(a)
                         develop statistics, restrictions on migrant
Topics covered           workers, Commission on integration and           .
                         Cohesion report
                         • Migration and Housing, migration policy,
                         Migration Advisory Committee work plan
                         • Managing the Impacts of Migration,
                         Enforcement strategy, Crime and Policing
                         • Migration Advisory Committee shortage
                         • Workers registration scheme and Migration
                         Excellence Programme
                         • Health and Social Care

Membership               • Published on the Home Office and               • The Government's Chief Scientific Adviser
                         Communities and Local Government web site        chaired the committee and membership is
                                                                          drawn from Government, practitioners and
                                                                          academia. While the existence of the Science
                                                                          Working Group and SAPER are in the public
                                                                          domain their membership and activities are
                                                                          withheld under sections 40(2) and 31(1)(a) of
                                                                          the FOI Act respectively.


Web address   ontent/documents/managingourborder     NA


Policy Advisory Board for Forensic Pathology

Disbanded in 2006, membership in 2005 was as follows

Mr T J Wilson
Dr A Anscombe
Dr C Bouch
Dr N R B Cary
Dr W Lawler
Dr S Leadbeatter
Prof C M Milroy
Dr R T Shepherd
Prof H L Whitwell
Prof J Crane
Mr B Gryzmek
Prof D Pounder
Dr H Millward-Sadler
Mr G Ryall
Ms M MacDaid
Mr G Pugh
Mr D Dovaston
Dr T J Rothwell
Dr Cooper
Dr Keeling
Mr Lake
Mr A Pugh
Dr A Scaplehorn

Policy Board for Forensic Pathology Scientific Standards Committee

Disbanded in 2006, membership in 2006 was as follows

Dr H Millward-Sadler
Dr C Bouch
Dr N Cary
Prof J Crane
Ms L Griffin
Dr W Lawler
Dr B Purdue
Mr N Rheinberg
Prof H Whitwell
Dr Anscombe
Dr White
Dr Rothwell

Home Office Information, Systems and Technology advisory group:

Membership as follows

Dr Mike Rodd (Computing) Institute of Electrical Engineers
Dr Daniel McCaughan (Engineering) Royal Academy of Engineering
Professor Sheila Bird (Statistics) Royal Statistical Society, University of Cambridge
Dr Elizabeth Sparrow (Computing) British Computer Society
Dr Jon Holt Institution of Engineering and Technology

Forensic Pathology Specialist Group

Membership as follows

Harry Sadler (University of Southampton)
Jeff Adams (Home Office)
Martin Bottomley (ACPO)
Caroline Browne (Human Tissue Authority)
Linda Cockburn (Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service)
Jack Crane (Northern Ireland Office
James Grieve (Scottish Executive)
Anne Harrison (NPIA)
Paul Johnson (Royal College of Pathologists)
Nigel Meadows (Coroners Society)
Basil Purdue (British Association in Forensic Medicine)
Trevor Rothwell (Consultant)
Charlie Wilson (British Association in Forensic Medicine)

Police Science and Technology Strategy Future Scanning Group

Membership as follows (as of 2006):

Alan Pratt                            PSDB (Police Science Development Branch)
Paul Garvin                           ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers
Daniel McCaughan                      RAE (Royal Academy of Engineering)
Karl Cunion                           OST (Office of Science and Technology)
Paul Ekblom                           Home Office RDS (Research Development and
Michael Horner                        Home Office SPU (Science Policy Unit)
Jeff Adams                            Home Office SPU (Science Policy Unit)
Trevor Howitt                         FSS (Forensic Science Service)
Stephen Thurlow                       PITO (Police Information and Technology Organisation)
Kevin Robson                          Police Superintendents Association
David Moore                           Police Federation
Jon Ashe                              Unison

Police Science and Technology Strategy Co-ordination Group

Membership as follows (as of 2006):

Alan Pratt (chair)            PSDB (Police Science Development Branch)
Sheila Hardwick               PSDB (Police Science Development Branch)
Michael Horner         Home Office SPU (Science Policy Unit)
Reg Pengelly                  HMIC (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary)
Bob Green                     Home Office Police Standards Unit
Phillip Jacobs               PITO (Police Information and Technology Organisation)
Paul Garvin                   ACPO
Kerry Curtis                  APA (Association of Police Authorities)
Stephen Webb           Home Office (Policing Organised Crime Unit)
Cecilia Buffery        FSS (Forensic Science Service)
Dave Barclay                  Centrex
Andy Feist                  Home Office Research Development and Statistics

ANNEX B – Application of Exemptions

Section 40(2)

The membership of any of these groups constitutes the personal data of those people.
Therefore that information can only be disclosed where release would not breach the Data
Protection Act (DPA). In the case of these two groups alone, disclosure would constitute a
breach of the DPA given the more sensitive nature of the issues that they cover. The
members of these groups have no expectation that their identities will be revealed, and given
this and the nature of their work, it would not be “fair” to release them. to do so would breach
the requirement contained within the first data protection principle (DPA Schedule 1, Part I,
Paragraph 1) that the processing of personal data must be “fair and lawful”.

Section 31(1)(a)

SAPER discusses topics which relate to law enforcement activities, notably those connected
to the prevention and detection of crime. The disclosure of information demonstrating exactly
what topics have been discussed and conversely, which have not, would aid those wishing to
commit crime. Therefore as harm would be caused, the exemption contained within section
31(1)(a) of the FOI Act is engaged. Section 31(1)(a) is however a qualified exemption, which
means that even when engaged it can only be applied where the public interest in disclosure
is outweighed by that against.

There is a clear public interest in the disclosure of information which holds government
accountable in relation to matters around emergency planning, and also in increasing public
understanding and providing public reassurance in relation to them. I acknowledge that the
disclosure of this information would help satisfy the public interest in disclosure in these ways.
However there is also a very strong public interest in protecting the public from crime and
given the current sensitivity of the information held, I consider the public interest against
release to outweigh that in favour of it.

Sections 23(5) and 24(2)

These provisions exempt public authorities from stating whether or not information supplied
by or relating to the intelligence agencies is held, or any information otherwise required for
the purpose of safeguarding national security.

Section 23(5) is an absolute exemption which absolves public authorities of their duty to
confirm or deny the holding of information supplied by or relating to the security bodies listed
in section 23(3) of the FOI Act. Section 24(2) does likewise where it is necessary to neither
confirm nor deny (NCND) the existence (or not) of such material where this is otherwise
necessary for the safeguarding of national security. Section 24(2) is a qualified exemption.
There is a public interest in openness accountability in relation to the work of the SAPER and
CBRN groups. However I consider that this is overridden here by the public interest in
maintaining the NCND position in relation to these exemptions in the interests of
safeguarding national security.

You should not take this as an indication that information falling within these categories is or
is not held.

ANNEX C – Complaints

If you are dissatisfied with this response you may request an independent internal review of
our handling of your request by submitting your complaint in writing within two months to the
address below.

Information Access Team
Information Management Service
Home Office
4th Floor, Seacole Building

2 Marsham Street

During the independent review the handling of your information request will be reassessed by
staffs who were not involved in providing you with this response. Should you remain
dissatisfied after this internal review, you will have a right of complaint to the Information
Commissioner as established by section 50 of the Freedom of Information Act.


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