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Departmental Advisory Bodies

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library the latest minutes for each of his Department’s advisory bodies. (241425)

Advisory non-departmental public bodies (ANDPBs) are established to provide specialist professional advice to the Secretary of State and the Department of Health.

Independent members are appointed on behalf of the Secretary of State by the Appointments Commission under the Office of the Commissioner of Public Appointments rules.

As part of the Department’s commitment to openness and accountability the minutes of the ANDPBs should always be publicly available unless there is a compelling need for confidentiality, such as commercially sensitive information.

The following ANDPBs publish their minutes on their websites:

Advisory Board on Registration of Homoeopathic Medicines

http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Committees/Medicines advisorybodies/AdvisoryBoardontheRegistrationof HomoeopathicProducts/Minutes/index.htm

Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection

http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/arhai/ARHAI-2008-05-20-minutes.pdf

Advisory Committee on the Safety of Blood Tissues and Organs

http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/acsbto/minutes_of_Meetings.htm

Advisory Group on Hepatitis

http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/agh/Minutesmeeting_05_03_08.pdf

British Pharmacopoeia Commission

http://www.pharmacopoeia.gov.uk/the-british-pharmacopoeia-commission/meeting-minutes.php

Commission on Human Medicines

http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Committees/Medicinesadvisorybodies/CommissiononHumanMedicines/Minutes/index.htm

Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment

http://www.iacoc.org.uk/meetings/index.htm

Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment

http://www.iacom.org.uk/meetings/index.htm

Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants

http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/comeap/meetings.htm

Committee on the Safety of Devices

http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Committees/Devices/CommitteeontheSafetyofDevices/Minutes/index.htm

Expert Advisory Group on AIDS

http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/eaga/pdfs/EAGA81_public_minutes.pdf

Gene Therapy Advisory Committee

http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/genetics/gtac/meetings.htm

Genetics and Insurance Committee

http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/genetics/gaic/meetings.htm

Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee

http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Committees/Medicinesadvisorybodies/HerbalMedicinesAdvisoryCommittee/Minutes/index.htm

Human Genetics Commission

http://www.hgc.gov.uk

Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation

http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/jcvi/minutes.htm

National Clinical Audit Advisory Group

http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/ncaag/meetings.htm

National Commissioning Group

http://www.ncg.nhs.uk/meetings.htm

National Joint Registry Steering Committee

http://www.njrcentre.org.uk/njrcentre/AbouttheNJR/Publicationsandreports/Steeringcommitteeminutes/tabid/88/Default.aspx

Patient Information Advisory Group

http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/piag/Meetings.htm

Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition

http://www.sacn.gov.uk/meetings/committee/main_sacn_meetings/index.html

The latest available version of their minutes of the following ANDPBs have been placed in the Library. The Department will seek to have such minutes published in future on the ANDPBs website:

Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV

This advisory group publishes annual reports and newsletters on its website which give details of its activities:

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/publichealth/healthimprovement/sexualhealth/sexualhealthgeneralinformation/dh_4079794

Independent Reconfiguration Panel

This advisory group publishes reports to Secretary of State and an annual review of business. However, they have recently refreshed their website and minutes of meetings will be published on the site from 2009:

http://www.irpanel.org.uk

The following ANDPBs do not make their minutes available:

Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee

The Administration of Radioactive Substances Advisory Committee (ARSAC) was set up to advise Ministers with respect to the grant, renewal, suspension, revocation and variation of certificates and generally in connection with the system of prior authorisation required by Article 5(a) of Council Directive 76/579/Euratom.

Applicants for certificates supply information in confidence to the ARSAC in order that they can be assessed for their suitability to hold a certificate. Applicants are normally of consultant status and supply information on their training and experience as well as on the services (such as radiopharmacies and medical physics departments) that support them.

The Committee comments on such applications in confidence. The information accumulated on individual applications is considered by a Department of Health official and if the application is successful the certificate is authorised on behalf of Secretary of State by that official.

Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances

The minutes of ACBS are not published because the Committee deals primarily with applications from manufacturers to have their products listed and as such the Committee’s discussions are held in-confidence.

We would not release information under FOI as release of such information is exempt from the right of access under section 43 of the Act, which provides that information is exempt if its disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person (including the public authority holding it).

Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards

The Advisory Committee recommends the names of Consultants for Clinical Excellence Awards to Secretary of State for Health.

The minutes of this advisory body contain person details relating to the persons under discussion and the minutes are therefore confidential.

Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens

ACDP publishes public summaries, the latest of which is the summary of the June 2008 meeting, available here:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/aboutus/meetings/committees/acdp/100608/summary.pdf.

The minutes are not currently publicly available, but this may change next year.

Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment

COMARE minutes are not published. This is because they often contain confidential information relating to individuals or unpublished research material. This process has been cleared with the Freedom of Information Commissioner.

Independent Review Panel for the Classification of Borderline Products

The full minutes of the meetings contain commercially sensitive information supplied by companies which cannot be released until the application is approved. The approval process may take several years if, for example, companies conduct further trials as a result of questions from the advisory bodies.

Persons Appointed Panel

The panel performs the function of the person appointed in the Medicines Act 1968 and subsidiary legislation. The function is to consider appeals against decisions of a licensing authority and the minutes are therefore confidential.

Review Body on Doctors and Dentists Remuneration

The Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) along with the other Pay Review Bodies, does not disclose copies of minutes of meetings as to do so would, or would be likely to, prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs and inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of the Review Bodies’ deliberations.

The NHS Pay Review Body

The NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB), along with the other Pay Review Bodies, does not disclose copies of minutes of meetings as to do so would, or would be likely to, prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs and inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or the free and frank exchange of views for the purposes of the Review Bodies’ deliberations.

The following ANDPB has not held a meeting and there are therefore no minutes available.

Independent Review Panel for Advertising

The ANDPB considers written representations from pharmaceutical companies as to the conformity of their advertising and promotional material with the regulations.

No such representations have yet been made so the ANDPB has not yet held a meeting.