REDACTED (BSD Head; NACWO)
REDACTED (NTCO, NACWO)
REDACTED (Secretariat, PPLH)
2. Minutes of previous meetings
Minutes of meetings held on 17th May 2022 and 22nd June 2022 were approved without revision.
- Matters arising from the previous Minutes – see Action Log
Points 22-07 and 22-09 were closed. Points 22-04 and 22-05 are still pending and the situation with the Tamarin colony was discussed under agenda item 7 of this meeting: PELH report (see below). Point 22-10: next AGM meeting is still pending and will be actioned at the beginning of 2023.
- Retrospective assessment of PPL PBF579622 “Control of Biological Medicines and Vaccines”
The PPLH gave an overview over the numbers of animals used under licence PBF579622 and the amendments and the 3R achievement made over the lifetime of the PPL. The PPLH was asked to include the number of used animals in the document and to also point out that the PPL also underwent retrospective assessment at the Royal Veterinary College which is listed as an additional establishment in the PPL.
- End of Term Review of PPL PBF0BF277 “Humanised Mouse Models for Public Health Research”
The PPLH gave an overview over the numbers of animals used under licence PBF0BF277 and the amendments and the 3R achievement made over the lifetime of the PPL.
- Review of job description for AWERB chair and AWERB ToR
The newly drafted job description (JD) for the AWERB chair was approved by the committee without revision.
The AWERB Terms of Reference (ToR) was reviewed. References made to the director will be replaced by PELH, since the new structure does not include an institute director. Also, all references to NIBSC will be changed to MHRA. Also, it was decided that the JD and the revised ToR will be sent to the PELH for feedback and endorsement.
Action: Chair to revise the ToR accordingly and to send both documents to the PELH.
- PELH Report
The PELH Report states that staffing levels have further decreased since the restructuring of the agency and that expertise has been lost. There has been an additional 25% loss in staff members since the transformation. The BSD Head pointed out that recruitment into the vacant positions has been very difficult with few suitable candidates applying and that one HEO position will have to be readvertised as a consequence of this. Because of the staff numbers falling even further, the workload for the remaining staff members is increasing even further to unsustainable levels and the flow of studies will need to be further reduced. The situation is very demoralising for the remaining staff members who can’t see an end to the worsening situation. The BSD Head voiced grave concerns that this ongoing situation may result in even more staff resigning. The NVS confirmed this assessment and said that studies have been postponed due to staff shortages and that fewer work can be taken on. Further, a general impression from BSD is that support from the PELH is needed, including acknowledgement of the gravity of the situation.
The AWERB committee noted during the discussion that the role of the PELH may be better placed with somebody else within the organisation who has a closer affiliation to the scientific work that is performed and can give the subject more attention. Currently, it is not easy to understand whether effective decision making at the PELH level is happening.
Regarding the health of Tamarin colony, several reports were filed by the NACWOs and the NVS. A paper on the subject is compiled by the R&D Head to be discussed by the SMT. However, the situation so far appeared to have attracted little attention by the PELH. The next SMT meeting is planned for the 21st of September and the AWERB chair will try to raise the issues of the insufficient BSD staffing levels and the health concerns regarding Tamarin colony with the SMT.
Action: Chair to invite the PELH to future AWERB committee meetings.
Action: Chair to explore possibility to present paper detailing the concerns of AWERB regarding the BSD staffing levels, the state of BSD, the decision-making process and the PELH engagement at SMT level.
- Any other Business
Action: The HOLC and the NTCO will draft text to advertise the opportunity to observe future AWERB committee meetings on INSITE.
The meeting concluded at 3.48 pm.
These Minutes have been viewed and approved by the Establishment Licence Holder (Chief Scientific and Innovation Officer).
Date: 24th November 2022