Government aid

Prof Christopher Snowden, the deputy president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), recently spoke for the institute at the first evidence session on Engineering in Government.

The Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills (IUSS) Committee’s first session on ‘Putting Science and Engineering at the Heart of Government Policy’ was held last week with the aim of exploring the engineering profession and its role in providing information to government institutions.

Snowden said: ‘In response to the committee’s questions we were able to clearly demonstrate the value that the institutions, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the profession, especially through chartered engineers, could add to the development of government policies in addition to the delivery of government projects and programmes.’

In a written statement, the IET claimed that the frequent change of senior staff across government departments was detrimental to the understanding of complex areas such as energy. The institute is currently working on improving policy co-ordination and advice to develop a base for independent, objective information.

The inquiry also heard evidence from Prof David Fisk from Imperial College, London; Prof Michael Kelly, chief scientific advisor from the Department of Communities and Local Government; and Lord Broers, former president of the Royal Academy of Engineering.