Quango ‘bonfire’ to cull 177 bodies


8:30 am - September 24th 2010

by Newswire    


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Government ministers have drawn up a list of 177 quangos to be abolished, it was reported today.

A further 94 of the tax-funded bodies are also under threat of being scrapped, including the BBC World Service, the Environment Agency and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, according to the Cabinet Office list seen by the Daily Telegraph.

Four quangos will be privatised, 129 will be merged, and 350 have won a reprieve. The scale of the cuts, if confirmed, is likely to prove controversial.

During the election, the Conservatives promised to cutback on quangos, although, after becoming prime minister, David Cameron was keen to distance himself from the “bonfire of the quangos” pledged in the past. Nevertheless, the prime minister has insisted cuts are necessary, not just to save money but for democratic accountability. Defenders of quangos believe many of them carry out essential functions.

The disability charity Scope said the Disability Employment Advisory Committee, the Disability Living/Attendance Allowance Advisory Board and the Disabled Persons’ Transport Advisory Committee, all said to be facing the axe, “provide the government with insight and understanding into the reality of disabled peoples lives”.

…more at the Guardian

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Reader comments


Hmm, if the Environment Agency goes, then that’s seriously bad news.

As a regular angler, I can testify that Britain’s waterways are only in the mostly fantastic state that they presently are because of careful maintenance by the EA. If the Tories abolish the EA, you can kiss good bye to the beautiful, clean rivers, canals and lakes that have been reclaimed from industrial processes over the past 20 years.

The idea that the EA is just some useless thumb-twiddling Quango – and that the “big society” can fill the gaps – is complete horse shit. Abolish the EA, and this green and pleasant land the conservative party is supposed to cherish will soon look a lot less green and a lot less pleasant.

Paul,

Could I suggest waiting to see how they propose to replace the functions the Environment Agency serve (which is seperate from abolishing the quango) before bemoaning their fate? Too often this debate seems to assume the quango is the only way of performing the function, which is clearly rubbish, even if it may be the best.

Bluntly, I doubt things like water standards will be totally lost, since that’s the sort of environmental issue that traditionally both Liberals and Conservatives are quite hot on.

As far as the reclaimation and maintainence of the canal network goes, the EA does sweet bugger all. It’s the IWA you want to thank there – surely an example of the “big society” at work.

It is clear that the cull is politically motivated. See my blog…

http://anthonytrew.blogspot.com/2010/09/180-quangos-to-be-abolished-for-benefit.html

The Environment Agency was, of course, set up by John Major’s government to consolidate several other bodies in the wake of water privatisation.

Apparently, according to the swivel-eyed blogsophere, it is a communist-run quango that is harming our economic development.

Given that this list has been padded out with lots of bodies like the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors, which last met in 1996 and costs about £2.54 to run, it’s interesting to see that such a huge landowner as the Forestry Commission has been left off the list.

Why cant most of these functions be delivered by govt departments?

“Disability Employment Advisory Committee, the Disability Living/Attendance Allowance Advisory Board and the Disabled Persons’ Transport Advisory Committee”

So three quangos which probably duplicate some of their admin work. Why can’t they be merged into one Disability Advisory Committee which looks at all aspects of disability. If anyone can argue that they should be kept seperate then they must have pretty good debating skills.

They affect each other anyway. Better transport means better employment. Better employment means better living. Better living means better transport. etc.

8. Chaise Guevara

“Too often this debate seems to assume the quango is the only way of performing the function, which is clearly rubbish, even if it may be the best.”

Yes, but there’s a definite feeling here of “let’s get rid of quangos for the sake of it”, because ‘quango’ is a nasty word these days, and it can apparently be assumed that the public are against quangos on general principles.

There is almost always room for improvement, but it has to be done judiciously or the benefits are outweighed by the cost of change. And we also have to consider the people employed by these organisations: if their jobs are truly useless then they should be scrapped, but that’s rarely the case. Human costs need to be taken into account as well.

@Chaise Guevara – “Human costs need to be taken into account as well.”

Yep, including the human cost of those losing their jobs and those having to pay, via their taxes, for these quangos which are so extremely useful that hardly anyone knows they exist.

All because the previous government mismanaged the economy. They were not at fault for causing the recession, but they were at fault for not coping with it and managing it.

10. Chaise Guevara

“Yep, including the human cost of those losing their jobs and those having to pay, via their taxes, for these quangos which are so extremely useful that hardly anyone knows they exist.”

That’s hardly a fair way to judge usefulness. Atoms are bloody vital but until fairly recently nobody had a clue that they existed. Whereas we’re all very much aware of the X-Factor, but I’ve yet to be convinced of its usefuless.

A quango could quite easily run quietly in the background for years, making life easier for people without ever getting in the news. The public tend not to interact with them directly. I feel you’re displaying the exact knee-jerk “quangos are bad” attitude that we need to be wary of.


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