The Group is led by Home Office officials and has members from the Department of Health, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the Food Standards Agency, the Health and Safety Executive, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research, the Health Protection Agency, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and the Pesticides Safety Directorate.
The Inter Departmental Group on the 3Rs (IDG3Rs) was originally established by the Home Office to improve the application of the 3Rs and promote research into alternatives, reduce the need for toxicity testing through better sharing of data, and encourage the validation and acceptance of alternatives.
The group is one of the key mechanisms by which government policy and practice with respect to the scientific validation of alternative methods is co-ordinated by officials. The group also provides a means for Government Departments and Agencies to work with the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs).
As part of its work, the group ensures that the United Kingdom representative to the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM) Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) is briefed in advance of meetings and that developments at ESAC and ECVAM are given due weight by Government Departments and regulatory agencies. Information on the validation of alternative methods within Europe is provided through the United Kingdom representative to ESAC. Relevant papers are distributed to members of the group as soon as they become available.
In 2007-08, the latest year for which accounts are available, the Home Office provided £250,000 towards the funding of the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3RS). This represented 9.5 per cent. of total Government funding for the centre. The Home Office has also provided £250,000 funding in 2008-09 and 2009-10.