Home Politics Ready, Aim, Fire – The great QUANGO cull of 2010

Ready, Aim, Fire – The great QUANGO cull of 2010

by Barry

Quangos are evil, they are a ridiculous drain on Tax Payers money and not needed.  Or that is what the Tory/Lib  Government would have us believe.   And the term Quango sounds a bit silly too, so maybe they are right.  This leads to the question, well what is a Quango and why do we have them int he first place.

A QUANGO is short for “quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation and generally is an organisationt hat the Government has devolved responsibility to.  So a bit similar to Local Government in that respect, in that it makes decisions for specific areas of interest.  When put like that, it doesn’t sound too silly after all.  Especially when the Government is talking about making government footprint smaller. 

Its easy to point both barrels at the general term of Quango and shoot it down, but it is a general term and a classification of an organisaion.  No organisation has the term QUANGO in its title (if there is one, please point it out). What this does is obscure just what cuts are coming.  Reports today show a list of what is under threat and I think this really starts to put into perspective what we are about to lose, things like  (there are 177, this is my selection):

My issue is that these organisations have been doing work to date and were set up with some form of mandate, the question is what or who is going to take on that mandate?  I would bet that efficiencies can be made int he way they are ran, but what happens if they cut an organisation with no plan for how that function will be carried out.  Does that then get taken on by the Government again?  Who will look after the British Waterways, the UK Film industry, our WEEE and ROHS obligations. 

This is where oversimplification and the cut and run approach will severely damage UK PLC in the long term.  Or we get the direct opposite of what we are being promised and that is LARGER government because no-one can fill the vacuum created by the dissolution of these organisations.


Eddie September 24, 2010 - 1:38 pm

In fact Barry, no decision has been made on any of them. his was a leaked list of quangos to look at. I thought that was the governments job.

“Last year both Labour and the Conservatives pledged to review the bodies with the aim of saving money. “

bazkirby September 24, 2010 - 1:50 pm

My Point here is many people don’t realise what is classified as a QUANGO, and I was aiming to highlight what sort of organisations are at risk. I do say that Im sure there can be money saved by betetr operation, but I fear that the original mandate for the organisations are not being taken into account and could be lost.

And FYI, these bodies listed are highly likely to be cut, there are another 90 or so still under review, and another load (around 350) to be retained.

Eddie September 24, 2010 - 2:05 pm

A great many of them should imo be scrapped, but that is another matter. Both this and the last government pledged to review quangos with the aim of saving money, so it isnt just “what the Tory/Lib Government would have us believe”. It is also what Labour beleived when in government.

bazkirby September 24, 2010 - 4:33 pm

I think it is Exactly the point to discuss which should be scrapped, there are some there which I agree, from their title, I can’t see the point of, but I don;t know their remit, and others which I think would be a shame (such as the UK Films Council).

I have not said that Labour were not going to look at it, my point here is to highlight what could be lost and how people feel about it. I did not realise just how many there were, and the bredth of topics. However I think that Quangos are at high risk of being slashed without due thought to the consequences, in a similar fashion as some PCTs.

The word Quango is being banded around like a dirty whatsit at the moment and I have talked to a number of people who didn’t really understand what a Quango was, and therefore it was worth highlighting what it is encompassing and what it means in real terms.

Joe K September 24, 2010 - 7:56 pm

Surprised not to see the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (of David Nutt fame) in that list, or did I glance over it? Are the PCC, the IPCC and the Charity Commission not also quangos?

Quangos may be closer than you think. Your definition, Barry, fits the description of at least two bodies I have had run-ins with over the past two years. Would they be missed if they were scrapped? By the people being paid to run them, maybe, but not by the majority of people in the community who barely know they exist, since they are reluctant to advertise their existence with anything so prosaic as a newsletter.

The proof in the pudding for any quango is that it serves a useful purpose. The Air Quality Expert Group (a department of Defra), for example, could be very useful in the debate over incineration revived in your previous entry (and I’m still waiting for Danny King to weigh in there). There must be dozens of quangos which could provide useful advice to your residents group, or my neighbourhood partnership, if we thought to ask. As with the unitary council issue, this may be a case of calling for change for the sake of change, rather than any real saving. Or put it another way, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

Could some quangos use some trimming, as you say, though? Almost certainly.


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