The budget

There is some disagreement about whether or not the budget available for the research programme should be disclosed to the research agency at the briefing stage. The argument for disclosing the budget available is that the type and scale of research that can be carried out is clearly limited by its size. If the agency does not know what this working limit is, then it may well produce a proposal that is rejected simply because it cannot be carried out within the budget available. This is a waste of time for both parties to the exercise. The argument against disclosing the size of the research budget is that if the agency knows how much money there is to be spent then they will find a way of spending it.

On balance, the authors believe that the weight of the arguments lies in favour of giving some indication of the funds available to the research agency before a proposal is received from them. This avoids the time-wasting exercise of the agency producing an inappropriate scale of research to that envisaged. Sufficient protection is available from an agency being tempted to do an unnecessarily large and expensive survey by the fact that three agencies will be invited to submit proposals. If the agencies know of this competitive element in the situation then they are not likely to produce a proposal that is certain to lose them the job on cost grounds.

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