HC Deb 12 February 2001 vol 363 cc26-7W
Mr. Dismore

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he is taking to implement the recommendations of the BSE Inquiry report. [150420]

Mr. Nick Brown

The BSE Inquiry report was published on 26 October 2000. In welcoming it, I said that the Governments substantive response would be announced in the coming months. I announced on 21 December 2000 that we would be making an interim response as a basis for public discussion before finalising the Governments full response.

The Governments interim response was published on Friday, 9 February. There will be a parliamentary debate on 15 February. The response has been prepared with contributions from across Whitehall and the devolved Administrations and seeks to present the actions being taken in all the legislatures.

This response is intended to focus on the future. It sets out what has happened since March 1996—which was the point to which we asked the Inquiry to take its examination. It gives full attention to the 167 specific findings and conclusions in the Inquiry report, and to the major themes that emerge from it: management of scientific advisory committees and how scientific advice is used in developing policy; openness; risk and uncertainty; the structure of government and the legislative framework; and the need for rigour in the development and implementation of policy.

The response takes the opportunity to set out how the Government are taking the lessons and comments in the report as a spur to developing the action already under way as a result of the Modernising Government agenda, the Office of Science and Technologys work on the use of science in government and work on developing a Government Statement on Risk.

The Government intend that this interim response should be the subject of positive action to seek the views of interested parties. Public debate on how the lessons in the report can be most effectively applied and embedded across Departments will help to ensure a comprehensive final Government Response to the BSE Inquiry report.

Mr. Jim Murphy

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what the outcome was of the review of the civil servants who were criticised in the BSE Inquiry report. [150291]

Mr. Nick Brown

Sheila Forbes, as an independent Civil Service Commission, has now completed her review of the criticisms in the report of serving civil servants. She has recommended to the Permanent Secretaries of the Departments involved that there is no justification for disciplinary action to be taken against any serving civil servant. They have accepted this recommendation and the civil servants involved have been informed.

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