Consideration of the Terms of Reference 2

To assess the effectiveness of arrangements to set research, monitoring, survey and data management objectives, monitor progress and evaluate output.

  1. The BGS Board provide assurance to NERC Council on the delivery of the Science Budget programmes. The papers for the Board are detailed and relevant. The panel concluded that they are undertaking their role effectively although information on outputs should be improved, detailed below.

  2. Objective setting, progress monitoring and evaluation of outputs operate at the Executive Committee, Directorate, programme and project level. At Wallingford a sub-group of the Panel saw how the BGS Project Management system ensures that the project remits and targets are met for customers. The project management form includes a risk assessment.
    • BGS management commentary
      The PMS has now been rolled out across the organisation.

  3. There are many kinds of scientific output in an organisation with the diversity of activity and breadth of interests of BGS as was also recognised by the 1997 BGS SMA. Further the central importance of surveying, monitoring and data-archiving mean that there will be outputs that involve innovative technique development, reports to clients aimed at the public good and informing decision-making (particularly in government), various kinds of maps and geological knowledge outputs in a digital age, and more popular articles to reach a wide technical or public audience. All of these outputs are valid and should be given comparable weight to peer-reviewed scientific publications in assessing staff performance. The importance of different kinds of output will depend on the role of individual scientists within the organisation. A component of BGS, however, should be involved in cutting-edge research that is published in high impact international scientific literature. Such research definitely exists within BGS and it is largely a matter of making sure that such research thrives, is visible within the scientific community and is published in high-impact international journals.
    • BGS management commentary
      Agreed. The 'balanced scorecard' approach, developed following the 1997 SMA, promotes the broader concept of BGS scientific outputs.

  4. The NERC Output and Performance Measures for 2002 proved very difficult to validate. BGS must introduce an improved mechanism to collect output data and to ensure that these are attributable at programme level. BGS should monitor which publications have UK and international co-authors.
    • BGS management commentary
      Agreed. The BGS acknowledges that the mechanisms for collecting conventional OPMs need to be improved, and that closer cooperation between NERC and BGS is required.

  5. The Regional Advisory Panels for the onshore surveys are drawn from industry, the Planning Community, the Environment Agency and specialist groups representing a broad spectrum of stakeholder interests. They meet annually and their role includes consideration of the progress of the regional programme and to advise on the future programme. The Panel regarded them as a practical approach for engaging stakeholders. BGS also find that they are a useful mechanism to allay any private sector concerns about BGS competing in the private sector for work.
    • BGS management commentary
      Stakeholder engagement is a fundamental element of the BGS strategy. The BGS welcomes the positive statements on the Regional Advisory Panels (RAPs). Opportunities for further engagement with stakeholders on a regional basis will be examined.
  6. The ISO 9000/2001 accreditation is being pursued which also will assist in maintaining standards to setting and monitoring objectives.
    • BGS management commentary
      In September 2004, BGS achieved ISO 9001/2000 accreditation.

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See also