Our commitment to quality
We are committed to delivering high quality scientific research which fully meets our customers’ needs for quality assurance (QA). We aim to offer a flexible approach, focused on customers’ needs for quality, timeliness and cost.
All of our work is covered by appropriate legal agreements with our funders and any subcontractors. These specify the nature and timing of work promised and set out customers’ priorities.
Many procedures are in place to ensure that quality is maintained:
- We collaborates in networks of excellence and with recognised experts.
- All our publications are peer reviewed.
- We implemented the quality standards outlined in UK Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Joint Code of Practice for Research issued by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Defra, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Food Standards Authority.
- We are in the process of adopting a Universal Ethical Code for Scientists.
- Our research centres are regularly reviewed by expert Visiting Groups.
- All our activities are audited by the Forestry Commission Internal Audit division.
- The Advisory Committee on Forestry Research provides guidance for us and the Forestry Commission on the quality and direction of our research.
A number of new initiatives are currently being undertaken, in collaboration with our major funders, to ensure that we remain at the forefront of best practice within the scientific community.
Managing quality assurance within Forest Research
The Forestry Commision Chief Scientist, Prof. Peter Freer-Smith, is our Quality Champion. As such, he is responsible for an ongoing programme of quality improvement and for ensuring our staff and subcontractors understand their individual and collective responsibilities for quality.
Carl Foster is our Quality Assurance Manager, and is responsible for ensuring staff and subcontractors understand their individual and collective responsibilities for quality. Carl underlines the importance of ensuring that our QA system meets the requirements of the Joint Code and retains CRD accreditation:
“It is vital that Forest Research’s systems fully meet our customers’ quality needs. QA helps us to expand our reputation for quality research.”
Competitive charge rates
We conduct both our core research programmes and our additional advisory and consultancy projects for external clients using the same charging strategy:
- This charging strategy is to recover from its customers our full operating costs, including the cost of overheads and capital
- This approach is common across most government executive agencies, and we follow the specific rules laid out in the relevant UK government guidelines
- All customers are expected to pay the same full cost recovery charges.
Having compared our charging rates with competitors, we are confident that we offer good value for money.