HC Deb 19 July 1972 vol 841 cc133-4W
Mr. Molyneaux

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will make a statement on the Docksey Review.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

Mr. Pat Docksey was appointed to advise on the exploitation of inventions resulting from public research and on the support by NRDC for the development and exploitation of inventions from other sources. Mr. Docksey submitted his advice by the end of 1971. The views expressed by Mr. Docksey were personal and his report contains information which he received in confidence during the course of his inquiry. It is not, therefore, intended to publish the text of his advice.

Mr. Docksey's major recommendation was based on the thesis that different types of judgment were required for decision-making on research and decision-making on development. It was important that projects passing from the research stage to the development stage should be subjected to renewed review and decision. He therefore recommended a Development Council, which could be set up around the existing NRDC, to control such decision-making on all projects other than those commissioned by Departments for their own use. He also made a number of recommendations aimed at clarifying the respective roles of Government Departments, their Research Establishments and the NRDC in the development and exploitation of both public and private sector inventions.

The Government accept that projects should be subjected to continuous appraisal at all stages, and under the machinery for implementing the customer/contractor approach which has been developed since Mr. Docksey conducted his review this is being catered for. It is not considered necessary to set up a separate Development Council as recommended.

The National Research Development Corporation will continue to fulfil a role under the Development of Inventions Act, 1967, subject to further consideration, in the light of Mr. Docksey's recommendations, of the scope of its relationship with the various Government Departments and other bodies concerned.