Review of research regulations
This month has seen publication of the long-awaited Hampton Implementation Review Report for the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Division and Inspectorate.
The review examines the work of the Animal Sceintific Procedures Division (ASPD) and Inspectorate (ASPI), which are both part of the Home Office's Science and Research Group (SRG). Throughout the report the organisation as a whole is referred to as ASP. We believe the Review provides positive guidelines for the Home Office to take forward in future.
The Review is part of a national process which looks at the work of 36 regulators. The Reports assess how well regulators are following the principles set out by Sir Philip Hampton in 2005. The Hampton principles cover better regulation and encourage best practice by increasing openness and transparency, highlighting areas for development, and spreading good practice to other regulators.
The Review highlights many positive aspects of the ASP, including recent work to improve current processes:
‘Overall, the review team saw evidence of the work of a highly regarded team of experts in animal scientific procedures and animal welfare. Their advice was valued and respected by stakeholders, from industry, academic and the voluntary sectors.'
Those working under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act (ASPA) were consulted for their opinions regarding the operation of the ASP. The authors reported that ‘evidence from stakeholders of improvements in the regulator's performance and evidence from ASP of a strong desire to improve further the efficiency of its regulatory work.'
However, ‘there are issues to be resolved over consistency of advice, transparency, focus on outcomes and sanctions, but the overall impression is of an effective and well-respected regulator.'
Some of the recommendations for improvement include revision of IT provisions, a risk-based approach to licensing, and a more balanced and consistent approach throughout the country.
This report is a helpful contribution to the debate about improving regulation of the use of animals in research and testing.