The committee's (HOSAC) key function is to provide the Permanent Secretary with independent advice on improving the quality of the science and research that informs strategic delivery and policy development.
Established in 2003, it is formed of eight independent members. Members are nominated by the societies involved in the science and technology carried out by the Home Office. HOSAC includes representatives of other key scientific advisory committees.
The following attend HOSAC meetings:
- Professor Bernard Silverman, Home Office chief scientific adviser
- Professor Chris Skinner, Royal Statistical Society ; statistics
- Professor Les Iversen, chair of Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, honorary professor, University of Oxford
- Professor Chris Lowe, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Cambridge; chair of chemcial, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) subcommittee
- Sara Nathan, chair of Animal Procedures Committee
- Professor Tim Newburn, British Society of Criminology; criminology
- Professor Nigel Shadbolt, Royal Academy of Engineering, University of Southampton (engineering)
- Chris Hughes, chair of National DNA Database Ethics Committee
- Professor Judi Ellis, British Psychological Society; psychology
- Proffesor Ian Poll, Cranfield University
- Prof Dame Ann Dowling (engineering) The Royal Society
- Alan Pratt, Home Office director of science, engineering and technology
The terms of reference for HOSAC are to advise the Home Office Board and ministers on science and technology and, in particular, to:
- review the scientific and technological aspects of research and development programmes being undertaken in, and on behalf of, the Home Office
- advise on the most effective use of scientific resources within the Home Office programme
- advise on the quality and value for money of research carried out for the Home Office
- advise on scientific and technological development outside the Home Office, including emerging new threats and opportunities of relevance to the Home Office
- advise on problems referred to it
- help the Home Office maintain creative links with the external research community
In this context the reserach and development programme refers to that work funded by Home Office group budgets, but not that of its agencies. 'Science' means physical and social sciences and statistics.