Home Office Science Advisory Council

The council's main 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, the Home Office Science Advisory Council (HOSAC) is formed of 8 independent members who are nominated by the societies involved in the science and technology carried out by the Home Office along with representatives of other scientific advisory committees.

Meetings are also attended by the Home Office chief scientific adviser and the Home Office director for science, engineering and technology.

The following attend HOSAC meetings:

  • Professor Sir Alan Wilson (chair), The Royal Society and Chief Executive of the Turing Institute
  • Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs
  • Professor David Delpy, Emeritus Professor of Biomedical Optics, UCL
  • Professor Judi Ellis (psychology), British Psychological Society and University of Reading
  • Dr Paul Grasby (behavioural and social science), FmedSci
  • Chris Hughes, chair of National DNA Database Ethics Group
  • Professor Shane Johnson (crime and policing), University College London
  • Dr John Landers, chair of Animals in Science Committee
  • Professor David C Lane FORS (operational research and systems thinking), Henley Business School
  • Professor Alan Manning, chair of the Migration Advisory Committee
  • Professor Helen Margetts (social data science and public policy), Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
  • Professor Michael Pidd (operational research), Academy of Social Science and Lancaster University
  • Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Academy of Medical Sciences and Cardiff University
  • Dr Brooke Rogers (social psychologist), Kings College London
  • Alan Pratt, Chief Security, Science & Innovation Officer

Register of members’ interests

Register of interests (PDF, 172KB, 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, and in engaging and communicating the importance and impact of scientific issues to the department. In this context, science includes:

  • economics
  • social science
  • statistics
  • operational research and engineering
  • physical and life sciences

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.

It is within the council’s particular role to:

  • advise on emerging scientific trends and findings that may be of relevance to the Home Office, either as opportunities or threats
  • act as a forum for the discussion of science and technology within the Home Office and in particular the work of the Home Office CSA
  • support and complement the Home Office’s specialist scientific advisory committees and to facilitate coordination of their work
  • advise on any specific scientific issue referred to the council
  • facilitate creative links between the Home Office and the wider scientific community

The membership of HOSAC is as follows:

The Chairs of the Home Office advisory committees whose business has scientific content, currently:

Other appointments made by the Home Office CSA include nominations from scientific learned societies and other bodies. These members are normally appointed for a 4 year term with the possibility of renewal for a second and third term, to a maximum of 10 years.

Annually, the Chair 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 matches the council’s current and future needs. Currently, there is one member nominated from each of the following bodies together with the Chair of the Defence Science Advisory Council of the Ministry of Defence:

HOSAC meetings are attended by the Home Office Chief Scientific Adviser and Director for Science, Engineering and Technology, together with other relevant Home Office Science officials. 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 make a contribution to the department by appropriately influencing the formulation of policy and operational decisions.

In January 2012, HOSAC’s subcommittee on survey, design and statistics was disbanded.


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


The Home Office is not currently recruiting council members.