The Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) are currently undertaking a review of AFBI, as part of the normal periodic review of all public bodies.

The Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) today called for views on how the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) can best meet the science and technology needs of the Northern Ireland and global agri-food industry both currently and in the future.

A spokeswoman for DAERA said:  “We want to hear views from businesses and organisations who use or interact with or use the scientific services provided by AFBI as well as from others who wish to comment on how DAERA supports the science and technology needs of the agri-food industry and wider rural economy. An online questionnaire is available on the DAERA website from today until 31 October. We encourage everyone with an interest to access the questionnaire and respond to this call”.

The online questionnaire can be accessed through clicking the LINK HERE

Evidence provided through the questionnaire will add to the information informing the Review and will influence its direction and conclusions. 

Notes to editors: 

DAERA announced it is undertaking a review of AFBI in June 2017.

All public bodies are subject to periodic review to ensure they remain effective and accountable. This review is following the Cabinet Office’s Tailored Review approach.

In the first instance, the review is examining the role of AFBI. It will then consider opportunities for AFBI to deliver its role more effectively and efficiently. The review will also examine whether governance arrangements for the organisation meet recognised principles of good corporate governance.

AFBI is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB), sponsored by DAERA. It was established in 2006 under The Agriculture (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 which provides AFBI with the power to undertake scientific work in the fields of agriculture, animal health and welfare, food, fisheries, forestry, the natural environment and rural development and enterprise.

The Institute undertakes an assigned work programme on behalf of DAERA which comprises statutory and analytical testing, disease surveillance and emergency response activity, together with research and development and specialist advice. It is also one of Northern Ireland’s largest science and technology organisations, providing technical and scientific support for both the local and global agri-food and biosciences sectors. In line with its Vision of ‘Advancing the Local and Global Agri-Food and Biosciences Sectors through Scientific Excellence’, AFBI undertakes a broad portfolio of scientific research, surveillance, and analytical and diagnostic testing for a range of local, national and international customers in order to provide scientific solutions to the global challenges of climate change, food security, disease control and environmental protection. Since its formation in 2006, AFBI has significantly increased its external funding, with 40% of AFBI revenue currently derived from a wide range of external funding bodies, including commercial companies.

The Review will be guided by the most recent UK government guidance available “Tailored reviews: Guidance on Review of Public Bodies” Cabinet Office, November 2016.

The review is planned to be completed in March 2018.

The AFBI Review is a workstream in the DAERA Science Transformation Programme. The Programme’s workstreams focus on identifying science needs, evaluating commissioning arrangements, completing the Tailored Review of AFBI and creating investment plans for DAERA’s science platform.

For media enquiries about this press release please contact DAERA Press Office or telephone 028 90524619. Out of office hours, contact the EIS Duty Press Officer on pager 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

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