Tuesday, December 06, 2005

"Selling off" the DNA Database

Andy Burnham sets out some details on the future of the National DNA Database (NDNAD), as Forensic Science Service (FSS), the body in charge of it, moves from being a Trading Fund to a Government-Owned Company.

As I don't know much about any of this, I did some quick Googling, which reveals that FSS staff want to retain transparency (back in March, at least). Andy also mentions that - while the overseers of the NDNAD are the Home Office, ACPO, and the Association of Police Authorities - the Human Genetics Commission (HGC) will have its board presence doubled (to, uh, 2 people). I'm not sure how big the board is in total, but as the HGC is chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy, I'm assuming this is at least a move in the right direction (or to partially offset the move towards being a GovCo).

There's also talk by Burnham that "a new and dedicated ethics group is required to provide independent oversight of Board decision-making", in conjunction with Department of Health support. Perhaps it's worth finding out what these plans actually involve.

Reminder: Perhaps we can ask him when he comes to Brighton this evening, for his public debate against Peter Tatchell. 6.45pm, in the Forest Suite of the Quality Hotel, West Street.

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