I was reading Private Eye this morning - it always helps to keep up to date with the seemier side of government and policy I think. For once I am also reading a current copy - No 1353, 15 November if you want to follow this up - and in the Just Fancy That! section on page 9 I found a very familiar story.
A survey of academics undertaken by the London School of Economics found that academics hired by government to evaluate the effects of its policies are being leaned on to reach suitable conclusions. Excuse me LSE - it's not just the academics that find that.
This is a challenging dilemma for any researcher - you have valid results, but they don't say what your "employer" wants them to say. Contracts with Government and many other agencies require consultants (academic or otherwise) to say they sign up to Market Research Society or BERA guidelines or both or an international standard. These clearly state that the researcher should present the findings appropriately irrespective of whether they tell the story demanded by the sponsor of the research.
So on the one hand, you are required to tell the story demanded by your paymaster, on pain on getting paid and being taken on to do future work, while on the other hand, if you present the required results, you are breaching the relevant researcher code of ethics, which puts you in breach of contract, which could mean you don't get paid or future work (if you get caught).
I have been in this position only once (fortunately), and it wasn't a nice place to be. I think LSE need to widen their survey to cover non-academics - there are after all loads of sources to find who has been working for government departments. The major research societies then need to work with their members to see how far this is happening and help their members find a way to maintain their professional dignity and integrity.