I am today announcing the start of the triennial review by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) of the six Scientific Advisory Committees for which the FSA is the sole or lead sponsor. The six Committees are:
the Advisory Committee on Animal Feeding Stuffs;
the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food;
the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes;
the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment;
the General Advisory Committee on Science; and
the Social Science Research Committee.
The triennial review programme ensures that all Government Departments review their non-departmental public bodies on a regular basis.
Reviews are conducted in two stages. The first stage will examine the continuing need for the functions provided by each committee, and whether the organisation’s form, including operating at arm’s length from Government, remains appropriate. If the outcome of this stage is that delivery should continue, the second stage of the review will assess whether the bodies are operating efficiently and in line with the recognised principles of good corporate governance.
The FSA is reviewing all six bodies as a cluster, which will provide for a more efficient review process, and allow the review to consider any gaps or overlaps in the committees’ functions and opportunities for efficiencies in their operation,
The FSA will consult widely with relevant stakeholders, including: the Select Committees on Science and Technology for both the House of Commons and House of Lords, on Health, and on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Government Departments and their agencies; the devolved Administrations; and others with an interest in the work of the committees. The FSA will also launch an open call for evidence so that all those with an interest can contribute.
I will inform the House of the outcome of the review when it is completed and the findings of the review will be published.