Saturday, 25 September 2010

1 in 3 Quangos to go?

In my first post I commented on the difficulties of cutting Quangos, especially because many of them carry out vital roles. Now it seems that more are set to go.

Both The Telegraph and The BBC were given leaked lists of bodies to be cut or merged. Among others Cycling England, the HPA and the Audit Commission are to go.

Some such as the;
  • Committee on Carcogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment 
and the;
  • Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment 
do seem somewhat redundant, and could easily be merged, but abolished?

Someone still needs to do the work and this will result in ever more centralisation and ever less expert knowledge going into decisions. Decisions will become political rather than in the public interest.

Surprise surprise the Tote is (finally) going to be sold. According to The Economist (I have lost the article unfortunately) it is one of the last few items that can be used for an injection of funds into the public purse, it leaves the question; What Next?

Virtual governments?

What ever your political persuasion there will be tough times ahead.


  1. Nice find on the promise that the Tote would be sold in 2008! A few thoughts: if the "virtual governments" article is a sign of things to come with more use of private and voluntary sectors, will that counter the centralisation effect of abolishing quangos? Will it have an effect on expertise, attracting private sector experts instead?

  2. I think I agree with your implied reasoning. If the result of "The Big Society" and systems such as that implemented by Suffolk Council is to farm more government roles out to the private and voluntary sectors then, Yes, it will help prevent politicians get their hands on parts of the independent work quangos had been doing.

    However, regarding the expertise, I expect that it will have the opposite effect. Expert committees in quangos are there because of expertise, not special interest, opening that up to volunteers and the private sector allows interference from special interest groups. Unfortunately I don't see that independent guidance can be given by groups who either have conflict of interest (anyone with expertise from the private sector) or are interested but not necessarily expert or able to give an objective view (the public).

    Maybe I'm just being pessimistic and experts will take on the challenge of volunteering in these roles. There are of course voluntary organisations which do very similar jobs to some quangos (eg. sustrans/CTC vs. Cycling England)

    I can't help but worry about the loss of independence in some forms or other.