The Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills were among the British agencies which could not provide a list of the studies they carried out or commissioned.

British civil servants acknowledged they often wasted time trying to find past studies paid for by their own departments.

The Sedley report (here) also notes several cases of publication of reports being delayed because of political concerns about the implications of the research.

It calls for a central register of all government-commissioned research, a commitment to prompt publication, and routine publication of any work that has been used to inform government policy.

In his summary, Professor Hendy says new institutions are needed to govern the way scientific research is used and conducted by government.

In New Zealand, a Parliamentary Commission for Science would be responsible for reviewing the Government’s processes for generating and utilising scientific evidence, and reporting on this to Parliament and for maintaining a register of internally and externally commissioned research by government, together with a pre-analysis plan with timelines (where appropriate); requesting, and then publishing, policy outcomes of each research project. It would be responsible, too, for investigating any matter where scientific misconduct may have occurred and reporting, on a request from the House or any select committee, on any petition, bill or any other matter which may need scientific input.