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submissions to committees and inquiries

evidence to select committee on CBRN emergencies

In May 2016 the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee conducted an inquiry into Science in emergencies: chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear incidents. The Science Media Centre submitted written evidence and was also called to give oral evidence to the committee.

evidence to select committee on science communication

In April 2016 the Science Media Centre contributed written evidence to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee inquiry on science communication with specific reference to the roles of government and the media. The SMC also gave oral evidence to the committee in June.

evidence to select committee on science in emergencies: UK lessons from Ebola inquiry

In September 2015 the Science Media Centre submitted written evidence to the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee on what lessons have been drawn from the Ebola outbreak last year concerning the use of scientific advice in the UK for similar disease outbreak emergencies in future. The SMC was also called to give oral evidence to the Committee.

submission to review of the liverpool care pathway (lcp)

In April 2013, the Science Media Centre contributed to a review looking at how the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) is being used in practice. The review focused on issues such as the experience and opinions of patients, families and health professionals, as well as hospital complaints.

evidence to select committee on clinical trials

In May 2013, the Science Media Centre contributed to a review by the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee about how clinical trials in the UK are regulated, following public debate on issues surrounding transparency and disclosure of clinical trial data.

evidence to select committee on climate change

In June 2013, the Science Media Centre contributed to an inquiry held by the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee on ‘Climate: public understanding and its policy implications’. The committee looked at what the public understand about climate, where people look for their information and how that may impact climate change policy.

10 best practice guidelines for reporting science & health stories

Following Fiona Fox’s written and oral evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, the Science Media Centre was challenged to act on the assertion that “if you put the best scientists, science communicators and science journalists in a room it would not take long for them to agree a tick list of the basic ingredients of good science reporting.”

The guidelines were therefore drawn up in consultation with scientists, science reporters, editors and sub editors and are designed to be used by newsrooms and as advice for non-specialist reporters.

In his report, Lord Justice Leveson described remarked on the guidelines as being “in my view commendable for their utility as well as their succinctness. Any new regulator should bear them closely in mind.”

evidence to the Leveson Inquiry

From our unique position between science and the media, the SMC was well placed to submit evidence from the science community’s perspective to the Leveson Inquiry on the culture, practice and ethics of the press.

The evidence paints the coverage of science, health and engineering by the media as being in rude health but listed a number of problems, and suggested recommendations to improve the general standard of reporting.

Following submission of this evidence, Fiona Fox was also called to give oral evidence and the SMC submitted ’10 best practice guidelines for reporting science & health stories’.

submission to BIS consultation on the Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees

In December 2010, the Science Media Centre contributed to a BIS consultation on the Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees. The report concluded that the Code of Practice from 2007 is still widely considered to reflect authoritative guidance on the processes and practice of providing independent scientific advice to government departments but would benefit from updating and clarification of some key issues.

evidence to select committee on using scientific advice in emergencies

In September 2010, the Science Media Centre contributed to a Commons Science and Technology Committee inquiry on the use of scientific advice and evidence in emergencies. The inquiry’s report, published on 2nd March 2011, said that while science was used effectively to aid responses to emergencies, it was not good enough for scientific advice to only sought after events have struck

submission to independent review on 2009 swine flu pandemic

In May 2010, the Science Media Centre contributed to an independent review into the handling of the 2009 swine flu pandemic. The review was to assess the appropriateness and effectiveness of the UK strategy for responding domestically to the H1N1 pandemic. The focus was on learning lessons from the UK-wide and making any necessary changes to better prepare for a possible future pandemic.

response to select committee review on principles of independent scientific advice

In February 2010, the Science Media Centre responded to the Commons Science and Technology Committee’s review of the principles that should apply to the treatment of independent scientific advice provided to government. 

Science and the Media Expert Group report: Securing the Future

Fiona Fox chaired the Science and the Media Expert Group, tasked by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) to develop an Action Plan to:

Develop the skills of journalists in reporting science responsibly.

Encourage the scientific community to engage more with the media.

Boost high quality science programming.

In 2009/2010, in discussion with Government and other stakeholders, the group developed and published the report ‘Science and the Media: Securing the Future’.

Supporting documents, including research specially commission from Cardiff University into the status of science journalism in the UK, can be accessed on the BIS website.

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