asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what requirements she imposes regarding the completion of non-departmental research projects which she finances; whether she is satisfied that these requirements are adhered to; whether there is non-productive expenditure; and how much.
The conditions which researchers are required to accept before undertaking work sponsored by my Department include a provision that progress reports on the work shall be submitted at specified intervals until the completion of the research, when a final report is required. Under these conditions, the payment of the final account can be delayed until the final report has been submitted. I also reserve the right to appoint an advisory or steering committee to consider the progress of the project or by other means keep in close touch with the researchers. In this way I am able to ensure that the progress and prospects of the work are under continuing review until the research is satisfactorily completed. I would expect these arrangements, coupled with the submission of a detailed budget before the research is started, to minimise the risk of non-productive expenditure. The Schools Council and the Research Councils themselves administer the funds made available to them.