To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his policy is on requiring his Department's (a) agencies and non-departmental public bodies and (b) contractors to have a written code of practice or protocol relating to the provision, conduct and quality assurance of scientific evidence and advice.
My Department is committed to handling science and engineering advice in accordance with the Government chief scientific adviser's “Guidelines on the use of science and engineering advice in policy making”,
(a) We do not have any agencies or non-departmental public bodies.
(b) We do not ask contractors to provide a written code of practice or protocol relating to the provision, conduct and quality assurance of scientific evidence and advice. However this comes through the technical evaluation of proposals and our contracts require providers to sign up to our terms and conditions which include general standard obligations to carry out the services with skill, diligence, efficiency, economy and to satisfy accepted professional standards. DFID's terms and conditions are more specific on personnel standards (this extends to sub-contractors), data management, corruption policy, conflict of interest, discrimination and environmental standards. For quality assurance we request peer review of proposals and outputs during commissioning of research, at annual monitoring and evaluation reviews and at completion of the contract. All published research is also peer reviewed.