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Legacy research from DCLG

by Mel Starrs on February 2, 2011

in Publications & Standards

Very unusual announcement popped over my radar today from Grant Shapps yesterday:

Reports from research commissioned by the previous administration

Today the Government is publishing the first group of reports presenting the findings from research projects commissioned by the previous administration.

There is a significant backlog of unpublished reports that were produced by the previous government and over the next few months we will be publishing these reports in groups themed on a particular topic.

The reports and findings are of general policy interest, but do not relate to forthcoming policy announcements. We are publishing these documents in the interests of transparency and as part of our Freedom of Information commitment to publish the results of all commissioned research. For transparency, all completed work is being published regardless of format or robustness.

Of the 16 reports published, 3 were of particular interest to me:

(xiii) Code for sustainable homes water calculator. This report reviews the Water Efficiency calculator for new dwellings, which supported the Code for Sustainable Homes.

(xiv) Building regulations system and the planning system – A better regulation approach for sustainability. This report analyses the interface between planning and Building Regulations in the context of environmental sustainability, to investigate the overlaps, synergies and gaps between the two systems.

(xv) The scope of an MOT test for buildings. This report covers a scoping study into the possible development of an MOT test for buildings and whether it was feasible to have periodic tests carried on buildings.

(Unlike the announcement page on DCLG, I’ve helpfully linked to the reports!).

I haven’t read through them all yet, but the reasons behind this transparency (which I love) appear to be cost driven:

The sixteen reports published today represent the findings from eleven research projects at a total cost of £691k. These findings cover the topics of Housing; Local Government and Building, Planning and the Environment.

The Government is concerned to ensure its research delivers best possible value for money for the taxpayer and that sums expended are reasonable in relation to the public policy benefits obtained. DCLG has put in place scrutiny and challenge processes for future research.

All new projects will be scrutinised to ensure the methodology is sound and that all options for funding are explored at an early stage. This includes using existing work from other organisations, joint funding projects with other departments or organisations and taking work forward in-house.

So how will research be commissioned and funded going forward? If any readers were involved in the previously unpublished reports, feedback would be very welcome.

I’m nosy enough to read the reports, but if they do not relate to forthcoming policy announcements is there any point?

  • http://twitter.com/linniR Linn Rafferty

    I have just skim read the one on building MOTs & was disappointed to read that the report concentrated on non domestic buildings. The authors state that the reason for this was that homes were already catered for by the HIP and especially the Home Condition Report! Well, that’s a sad reminder of how useful the HIP/HCR combination would have been, if it had been implemented properly instead of botched. Water under the bridge now!

  • http://twitter.com/aaAdamEvans Adam Evans

    My biggest concern is the waste caused by duplication and fragmentation, particularly when you start talking about building “MOTs”. Duplication in that there are so many current compulsory “measures” for various elements of building /estate efficiency and effectiveness out there (BREEAM in use, OGC;s Property Benchmarking Service, CRC Reporting etc), the danger is we spend all of our time discussing measuring and testing and not enough time taking a hard look and making difficult decisions about how and where improvements can be made (whether in sustainability or others).

  • http://twitter.com/aaAdamEvans Adam Evans

    My biggest concern is the waste caused by duplication and fragmentation, particularly when you start talking about building “MOTs”. Duplication in that there are so many current compulsory “measures” for various elements of building /estate efficiency and effectiveness out there (BREEAM in use, OGC;s Property Benchmarking Service, CRC Reporting etc), the danger is we spend all of our time discussing measuring and testing and not enough time taking a hard look and making difficult decisions about how and where improvements can be made (whether in sustainability or others).