The triennial reviews of the Defence Nuclear Safety Committee (DNSC) and the Nuclear Research Advisory Council (NRAC) are part of the government’s commitment to ensuring that Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) continue to have regular independent challenge. The review was conducted in 2 stages: The report concludes
- that they should both be retained as separate Advisory NDPBs
- their current terms of reference and governance arrangements are appropriate
- the review did investigate whether DNSC and NRAC could be combined into a single Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB).
There are compelling reasons to keep them separate (principally because safety permeates a much broader remit than NRAC covers). Were the two bodies to be combined, it would require a larger membership to cover the necessary extended skill base, and MOD would need to brigade the enlarged body in such a way that in effect it would replicate the two separate bodies and generate no efficiencies or savings.
For this reason the review recommends the continuation of two separate bodies but with appropriate cross linkages to ensure there is no duplication of effort. In the past there has been a useful, albeit accidental joint Member (someone with skills appropriate to both NDPBs); this good practice could be formalised as a requirement for at least one Member when recruitment is undertaken.