Home Office Science Advisory Council

The council's main function is to provide the Home Office’s Chief Scientific Adviser with independent advice on maximising the quality of the science and research that informs strategic delivery and policy development.

Membership

Established in 2003, the Home Office Science Advisory Council (HOSAC) is formed of 8 independent members and the chairs of other Scientific Advisory Committees.

Meetings are attended by the Home Office Chief Scientific Adviser, who is also the Director General of Science, Technology, Analysis, Research and Strategy (STARS).

The following attend HOSAC meetings:

  • Professor Brooke Rogers OBE (co-chair), behavioural science and security at King’s College London
  • Professor Guy Nason (co-chair), Chair in Statistics and Head of Statistics Section in the Department of Mathematics, Imperial College London
  • Professor David Delpy, Emeritus Professor of Biomedical Optics at University College London
  • Dr Paul Grasby, behavioural and social science at the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats.
  • Professor Shane Johnson, director of the Dawes Centre for Future Crime at University College London
  • Professor David C Lane (FORS), operational research and systems thinking at Henley Business School
  • Professor Helen Margetts OBE, Professor of Society and the Internet at the University of Oxford, and Director of the Public Policy Programme at the Alan Turing Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence
  • Professor Michael Pidd, management science at the Academy of Social Science and Lancaster University
  • Professor Jonathan Shepherd CBE, Academy of Medical Sciences and Cardiff University’s Crime and Security Research Institute
  • Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs
  • Professor Hugh Griffiths OBE, chair of the Defence Science Expert Committee
  • Professor Mark Watson-Gandy, chair of the Biometrics and Forensic Ethics Group
  • Professor David Main, chair of Animals in Science Committee
  • Professor Brian Bell, chair of the Migration Advisory Committee

  • Dr Gabriella Spinelli, Reader in Design in the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Science at Brunel University
  • Ollie Whitehouse, Group CTO at NCC Group
  • Professor Tom Kirchmaier, Director of the Policing and Crime Research Group at the London School of Economics
  • Professor Tushna Vandrevala, Professor of Health Psychology at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London

Member biographies

Member biographies (PDF, 624 KB, 7 pages)

Members’ register of interests

Register of interests (PDF, 165 KB, 7 pages)

Terms of reference

The role of the Home Office Science Advisory Council (HOSAC) is to support the Home Office Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) in providing independent scientific advice to the Home Office on matters relevant to its policy and operations. The Council also supports the CSA in engaging and communicating the importance and impact of research and scientific issues to the department. In this context, science non-exclusively include economics, social science, statistics, operational research and engineering, physical and life sciences, ethics, and data science.

HOSAC operates under the Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees (CoPSAC) published by the Government Office for Science; this code sets out the general responsibilities of the Council and its members. Members should also abide by the 7 Principles of Public Life.

It is within the Council’s responsibility to:

  • provide the Home Office chief scientific adviser with independent advice to maximise the quality of the science and research that informs strategic delivery and policy development
  • Provide independent scientific advice to the Home Office on matters relevant to its policy and operations.
  • proactively facilitate effective links between the Home Office, the wider scientific community, stakeholder groups, and other Government Departments to inform and support work relevant to the Home Office areas of research interests
  • proactively identify and share emerging scientific or technological advances or trends with the relevant departmental leads
  • act as a forum for the discussion of science and technology within the Home Office to support and enable the work of the Home Office Chief Scientific Adviser
  • support and complement the Home Office’s specialist scientific advisory committees and to facilitate coordination of their work

The membership of HOSAC is as follows:

The chair and independent members of the Council are appointed by the Home Office Chief scientific adviser. The chair will be appointed for a 3 year term and may be re-appointed once. Members are appointed for a 3 year term and can be reappointed to a maximum of 10 years.

The chairs of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, Animals in Science Committee, Migration Advisory Committee, National DNA Database Ethics Group, Defence Science Expert Committee may choose to remain as associate members who engage in HOSAC meetings but are not expected to commit the same amount of time in addition to regular meetings as Council members in light of their other roles and responsibilities.

Council members

Council members are responsible for contributing towards the Council’s aims and following the Council’s code of practices. Members will be committed to attending quarterly Council meetings as well as reacting to shorter turnaround requests. Members will be expected to respond to urgent emails from the Department where possible. Members will work on long-term projects as well as ad-hoc work from the Department. As well as responding to incoming work, members should proactively share their ideas and knowledge where they consider it will add value.

Members will be appointed through fair and open competition by a selection panel including the Chief Scientific Adviser. Council members will be remunerated for their time. Travel expenses will be covered in addition to the honorarium. The annual time commitment will be up to 20 days.

HOSAC chairs

The HOSAC chairs are responsible for ensuring that the council’s aims are being met and working with the Secretariat to structure the Council’s workplan. The HOSAC chair will have the same expectations as Council members and follow the Council’s code of practices. The Chairs will work with the Secretariat to ensure that the balance of member skills are appropriate for the task.

The chairs will be appointed through fair and open competition by a selection panel including the chief scientific adviser and they will be remunerated for their time. The annual time commitment will be up to 25 days.

Associate members

Associate members are expected to contribute to the Council’s aims and follow the same code of practices as HOSAC members. Associate members will be expected to attend quarterly meetings and be involved in the discussions during the meetings. Associate members will not be expected to work outside of the HOSAC board meetings but may be invited to additional meetings or events which will be optional.

The chairs of MAC, ASC, ACMD, DSEC and BFEG will be automatically appointed as associate members of HOSAC if they do not wish to be Council members. Associate members will not be recruited directly and will be unremunerated. A day rate will be given to those Chairs who are not remunerated for their chair-ship already. The annual time commitment will be approximately 4 days.

Annual review

Annually, the chairs of HOSAC and the Home Office Chief Scientific Adviser will review the Council’s composition and consider whether the current balance of skills and experience available match the Council’s current and future needs.

HOSAC meetings

Full HOSAC meetings are held quarterly and include attendance by the Home Office chief scientific adviser and other relevant Home Office officials. Smaller, task-relevant meetings and workshops will occur throughout the year as needed in response to departmental requests and needs. Where appropriate senior officials from the Home Office and its agencies should attend formal and informal HOSAC events to ensure that HOSAC is able to contribute to the department by appropriately influencing the formulation of policy and operational decisions.

Home Office Science Advisory Council’s work

HOSAC Compendium Report (PDF, 7.06 MB, 24 pages)

How HOSAC has helped the Home Office over the past 4 years.

Minutes

For older minutes, please go to the HOSAC pages of The National Archives.

Appointments

Chair of the Home Office Science Advisory Council, January 2019 (PDF, 501 KB, 14 pages)

Vacancies

View the current vacancies for the Home Office Science Advisory Council on GOV.UK.