Suggest a quango or three for the bonfire

There are too many quangos. The panoply of regional government quangos in England need to be abolished, returning to Councils or national government those powers and budgets that are still needed. There are numerous national quangos that reflect past problems, set up in haste but allowed to develop a life of their own when the case for their existence was at best tenuous. Do we still need a National College for School leadership or a Quality Improvement Agency for lifelong learning?

Despite the rise and rise of the quango state – or maybe partly because of it – civil service numbers have also soared. In 1979 when the Conservatives took over they inherited a civil service of 735,000. By 1997 at the end of their period in office this had fallen to 450,000. Today it is back where it was in 1979., with more quangos as well!

In many cases there is substantial overlap, or multiplication of quangos where one streamlined generic one would suffice. Why do we need an Energy Savings Trust, Environmental campaigns, Environwise and an Air Quality Standards body as well as an Environment Agency? Couldn’t the EA do those things as well? Do we need a Health Protection Agency, a National Patient Safety Agency and a Commission for Patient and public involvement in Health as well as all the public sector Health trusts and bodies designed to deliver such a service? Wouldn’t one amalgamated standards body be sufficient?

When it comes to regulating private sector businesses, we need to accept that competition is the best regulator, and move to more competition in water, power and communications as quickly as possible. In the meantime do we need Ofgem, Ofcom and Postcom as well as the Office of fair Trading? Couldn’t they all be managed by the OFT?

In the housing and planning field, do we need the Housing and Communities Agency? Why can’t public money be distributed direct by the department? Can we abolish the regional housing and planning quangos, restoring authority to Councils for local matters and to Whitehall for national matters?

This is your opportunity to write in with your pet quango abolition proposal. We are going to need regular use of the R word and the A word – repeal and abolition.

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102 Comments

  1. Stuart Fairney
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Well just the first few, Capacitybuilders UK Ltd £34M, apparently responsible for delivering the ChangeUp programme from the Home Office. Capacitybuilders has a £70.8 million budget. National School of Government, (no really) £29M. Community Development Foundation, apparently a leading source of intelligence, guidance and delivery on community development in England and across the UK, £15M Equal ops commission and the CRE. Abolish and let people rely on common law. £30M. The housing corporation, £1.64Billion, simply allow the private sector to offer rentals as appropriate and end this nonsense entitlement culture that says, act recklessly and get a free house.

    Well, that’s all my blood pressure can stand for now, but for the complete list

    http://tpa.typepad.com/bettergovernment/files/080515_structure_of_government_1_unseen_government_immediate_release.pdf

    • Alan Wheatley
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      I was thinking what we need is a list and more information, and there it is. Thank you, Stuart, for a good link.

  2. Ian
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Sir,
    Please use this link as a guide to the amount of Quango’s currently in operation.
    I do not know if the list is up to date, but here’s a start, if you want to start the cuts, cut here!
    http://quangos.ercouncil.org/search/

    • Acorn
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

      The guys at the Treasury WGA unit are still trying to find where all the money is going. On the following spreadsheet I was shocked to find the Potato Council was missing. Fear not, it has been hidden in the new Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board Order 2008. Quangos now have there own Quangos.

      http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/wga_200809_appendix_3__list_of_bodies_and_cpids.xls

    • THE ESSEX BOYS
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Ian – handy.

      An interesting segment on quangos on The Daily Politics this morning. Andrew Neill really got stuck into Phillip Hammond on lack of detail on the quangos to be abolished and the ’17’ to be set up. I guess that old-stager Neill has heard this story from Oppositions too many times over the years to swallow it without question!

      Kelvin McKenzie, as trenchantly and entertainingly as ever, came to PH’s aid with further outrageous examples of waste to which Neill made the sensible suggestion of recruiting McKenzie to the Tory Quango cause.
      The underlying lesson rather endorses what we blogged on JR’s earlier quango entry this morning:

      “Techniques that we have all used in sales and company incentive schemes should be used unashamedly and so should some of the catchy slogans that we regularly advocate here.
      This is a deadly serious business but to connect with the public and get everyone genuinely onside we shouldn’t use just dry economic language and tired cliches.”

      Conservatives need to communicate in a direct and entertaining way that GRABS a voter’s attention and if someone like Kelvin McKenzie is available for a particular cause, let’s go for it!

  3. Maggie
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    The Youth Citizenship Committee. Last week they reported that children between the ages of 11 – 14 weren’t very interested in politics and didn’t feel they could influence the political process. They regularly issue press releases clamouring for votes at 16.

  4. jean baker
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Excellent – abolish ‘centralized state control’ and return to localized management of all sectors – no ‘quangos’ would be needed. Elect/appoint those with the right skills and leave them free to do their work.

    BERR reportedly has increased it’s budget from 460 m to £1.92 b (since Mandleson’s return from EU); it apparently runs as a 5th column within government working ‘for corporations to undermine democracy and the public interest’.

    Ban ALL such ‘politically based/prejudicial’, taxpayer funded ‘quangos’ – BERR being just one example.

  5. Kit
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Scrap WRAP!
    Do we really need an organisation that takes out full page magazine adverts telling us how to peel a bruised apple?

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Driving once in a heat wave, the BBC gave me some advice from the government about what to do.

      Apparently one has to wind down the windows, and if there is air conditioning, use it…..

      We employ someone to give us this ‘advice’

  6. Colin D.
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    The going-in position should be to abolish the whole lot. I bet life will carry on as before and we will save a bundle.

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      That’s really not a bad idea.

    • jean baker
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      I agree …. the country was thriving before the ‘grinning deceiver’ was elected.

      Get back to basics ….. the cheapest and most effective form of democratic government ….. localized control and accountability.

  7. Mick Anderson
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Quangos are to bureaucracy what PFIs are to public spending. They are “stealth government” – a way that the number of things that Government is meddling in can be hidden from the taxpayer.

    I would start with the assumption that all Quangos are to be abolished unless they can demonstrate that they provide something useful that has to be done outside the constraints of Government. If usefulness has been established, tax-payer funding can be withdrawn, because such Quangos will have been proven to be so useful to the taxpayer that they will be able to find private funding.

    If there is a requirement for an organization to provide a public service, it should be done from within national or local government. This gives a (very low) level of accountability. If it is not provided directly from either of these, it should not be funded by the tax payer.

    I also disagree to some extent about “competition is the best regulator”. It hasn’t worked terribly well in banking, energy provision and the railways. Competition is fine if there is genuine choice, and if the requirement is not life-critical (energy, water). However, the banks have not been regulated properly (either by Quango or the market), breaking the railway network up has not really led to effective competition (just a mess of incomprehensible alternate pricing), and I’m still trying to find a gas supplier with a competent accounts department. However, competition can work – for example with internet service provision or courier companies, although some shopping around is required. Perhaps the difference is in the history of provision (railways being old and the internet being new), or the necessity (banking effectively being compulsory in the modern world, but you can generally deliver a parcel yourself).

    The thing I really identify with is the idea of streamlining delivery or services. Provision should be sized so as to be manageable – efficiency is the key.

    • Lola
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      The banks are a cartelised supplier of a monopoly product. They have been to all intents and purposes nationalised for years. They are the agents of government and central bank economic meddling. There is absolutely zero service differentiation between them, nor do they compete on price. It is not that competition has failed in banking, it is that it has been regulated and meddled out of it.

      This is also true of energy and railways. Private capital built the railways but they were always subject to political meddling. Properly privatise the railways and let them compete with each other and alternative means of transport. Freed of arbitrary political meddling they will soon innovate ways of making money. Mind you to level the playing field road fund licence fees for vehicles should be drastically reduced and tolls (aka road pricing) introduced on arterial routes. This would ensure that the capital cost of keeping such roads going could be seen to be priced in the same way as maintaining the permanent way. Overall trains are great for medium distances, short distance high volume (commuting) and bulk freight. They are not at all good for light freight and local distributors where the van, bus and private car are far more efficient. Personally I love trains, and I especially enjoy the civilised way in which a tourist can enjoy something spectacular. As an example may I recommend the Bernina or Glacier Express. Go to youtube and see for yourself.

    • jean baker
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Of course it was healthy and totally necessary for Banks to compete; it ensured good customer service and the freedom to get best financial deals.

      Blair’s abolition of financial regulation resulted in some Banks being subject to ‘socialist’ control, the ruling party, at taxpayers expense.
      Lo and Behold, one grossly devalued establishment has been offered to Tesco by Brown. (words left out).

      Labour loathes competition and any form of opposition whilst transferring taxpayer funded money and privileges to supporters of their political brand – ‘socialism’.

      • Lola
        Posted July 7, 2009 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Blair/Brown did not abolish financial regulation, they replaced it with various bits of legislation, including the appalling FSMA 2000. These actions had two purposes. One, to divide and conquer the existing workable supervisory structure such that only Brown new the whole picture and could press ahead with mad fiscal and economic policies without any check or balance to challenge him and (b) to morph ‘regulation’ into nationalisation by one remove. For example the FSA rule book is prescriptive. It lays out how the whole FS industry should carry on its business. It is nationalisation lite by bureaucratic quangocracy. And of course as with all nationalised industries it has failed. All of this allowed Brown to use the banks as pushers. Not of narcotics but of debt. This created the illusion of wealth just as drugs create the illusion of well being. Brown is more like a shabby drug baron than a chancellor.

        • jean baker
          Posted July 7, 2009 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

          Fact – it look Bliar six months on his arrival in 1997 to abolish Clause 4. The ensuing financial ‘free for all’, lack of historic FSA/Bank of England regulation resulted, 12 years later, in, as independent economics predicted – financial meltdown and toxic debt.

          Throughout the past 12 years Nulabor has governed on the basis of lack of proper financial regulation/accountability transferring money (borrowed against taxpayers) and privileges to vested interests liable to identify with the Labour political Brand.

          Labour is the ‘passengers party’ closely allied to the (reportedly) ‘corrupt’ EU taxpayer funded ‘gravy train’.

  8. Michael
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) serves no useful purpose. Put it on your list. They’ll not be missed.

    Their home page:
    http://www.cnhc.org.uk

    Why they are a waste of taxpayer’s money:
    http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2009/06/government-bails-out-ofquack-as-it.html

    • jean baker
      Posted July 7, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      Many pharmaceutical drugs in that multi billion pound industry are sourced and produced from nature, i.e. plants.

  9. Monty Slocombe
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Yes, too many quangos. Everyone knows this. Also, what about the useless components of ALL the public services?

    After 30 in the Police Service, I was witness to waste on a massive scale. Time, energy and money thrown at activities not even remotely connected with police duty, and far too many to list here. Any working police officer could enlighten one about the hours spent on paper chases and the growth of “departments” which take on a life of their own.

    Here in north Wales, we see police officers collecting rubbish in the street, officers spending duty time to learn Welsh, gay police jambories and thousands spent on a horse section that cannot perform at football matches for safety reasons.

    Knowing human nature, I suspect that all the public services have the same cavalier attitude towards our money.

    How is it that people like John Redwood and Frank Field, who talk common sense, never seem to hold the reins of government? Is thinking the unthinkable not allowed?

    • jean baker
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      “Is thinking the unthinkable not allowed ?”

      It seems not – Labour loathes any form of challenge to it’s ‘ideaology’; questions raised in Parliament by opposition members based on ‘common sense’ and sound economic sense are either disallowed or not answered.

      • Stuart Fairney
        Posted July 9, 2009 at 6:21 am | Permalink

        This seems to be modern poolitics in general, this lot are perhaps the worst example, led by a man who simply cannot say mea culpa

  10. Posted July 6, 2009 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I am less interested in just ditching Quangos because they sound like they shouldn’t exist.

    What I would support strongly though is a program of formal reviews carried out by an independent body, say every five years to ensure that a Quango delivers a “profit” to those it serves.

    If a development agency exists, then it has to generate more development in the form of economic benefit than it costs.

    If a red tape department exists, it must show that the cost of the red tape is justified by the costs (in forms of life, sickness etc) that are avoided.

    If the department is actually profitable, then it shouldn’t be scrapped as that may cut the headline cost, but it ends up being a case of nose cutting to spite faces.

    An example was cost cutting in the Treasury which was reported to have resulted in a loss of tax collected that was greater than the saving within the department. Daft.

    Quangos that don’t deliver will be shut down, and that should in itself act as an incentive to perform better. Those Quangos that are actually worth keeping can wave their report around to show that they are doing a good job.

    Sounds like a win/win situation.

    • Adam Collyer
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      Ianvisits, regular reviews sound good, but please NOT by an “independent body” – i.e. yet another quango! Elected politicians should review the quangos, not civil servants.

      • Posted July 6, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        I am not entirely sure letting politicians make decisions is always the wisest idea!

        Anyhow, whether the work is done by politicians (or more accurately, a firm contracted to do the work for them), or a Quango – the cost would be the about the same.

        Lets not get so obsessed with a quango-phobia that we end up scrapping them simply because they are called “quangos” and replacing them with another organisation that does exactly the same thing, but under a different name.

    • jean baker
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Labour’s love of costly ‘quangos’ is based on their need to control and monitor for self serving ends, as opposed to the good of the nation.

  11. Donna W
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    The Equality and Human Rights Commission.

  12. Lola
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Reform the atrocious FSMA 2000 and get rid of the FSA, The FOS and the FSCS. Leave behind a completely pruned FS supervisor and add a consumer protection tax to every financial product and get it administered by a small part of the FS superviser.

  13. no one
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    get rid of PCT’s

  14. Brian E
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    I think all the government “Agencies” should go and their work either totally privatised or returned to the Civil Service proper.
    The agencies seem to have been created so that the Minister can be “at arms length”, which means if something goes wrong, it wasn’t his fault. The heads of these agencies seem to get ridiculously high pay, money they would never have earned in the Civil Service, and far more than is justified by the job. They are supposed to be “self-financing”, but unlike private enterprise where there is competition and efforts are made to reduce costs to keep within the income, these Agencies simply put up their prices to meet the costs. If you have a complaint it is all but impossible to find someone who will listen or do something; the DVLA is a typical example where you have no redress against their incompetence and which needs firm government control.
    The other excuse for the Agencies is, of course, that the employees aren’t Civil Servants, although most get similar pay and conditions, and thus the”sponsoring” government department appears to employ far less staff than it really does.
    It would be a useful exercise if someone could compare the size of the Civil Service and its Agencies in, say, the fifties with that existing now. Such a comparison would need to take into account all the areas which have been genuinely privatised, such as BT, Air Traffic Control, etc. Logically, overall numbers should be far less as the provision of computers and other modern equipment should have produced greater efficiency.

  15. Posted July 6, 2009 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Dump this Governement first, then every Quango since 1997. Then start on pre-1997 Quangos.

  16. Jim in Scotland
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I’d start with:

    Equality & Human Rights Commission
    British Council
    Unelected English regional assemblies
    Arts Council & Scottish Arts Council
    Potato Council
    Local Government Standards Board
    Confederation of Scottish Local Authorities
    Local Government Association

    Some of the big charities receive so much government funding that they are effectively quangos. I’d cut their funding and tell them to go and attract voluntary donations instead.

    • APL
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Jim in Scotland: “I’d start with:”

      Yes, that list is a good one, the E&HRC, the British Council, the Potato Council. But I would like to add one too,

      The Standards Board, such a thing ought not exist in a democracy, it really ought to go!

    • Emma
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Aren’t there two potato council? One for and one against. Couldn’t we just put them in a room together and let them implode?

      • Acorn
        Posted July 7, 2009 at 7:08 am | Permalink

        How about adding a little butter and some fresh peas and mash them. ((()))***

  17. backofanenvelope
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I have no doubt that the Civil Service will be ready for the next government.

    What size cuts would you like Mr Redwood? Anything between 5 & 100% will be available and the pain will be widespread. But after the dust has settled, the structure will be intact. 21 ministries will remain; dozens of agencies, 100s of QUANGOs.

    The only way forward is to STOP them doing things.

  18. Alfred T Mahan
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    The Criminal Records Bureau. There’s no evidence that it does anything except clog up the works.

    All speed camera partnerships. They are simply self-perpetuating cash machines. Deaths on the roads haven’t fallen at all since cameras became widespread despite advances in technology, so one can infer that cameras increase deaths rather than reduce them.

    National Park Authorities – especially mine in the New Forest. It has merely taken powers from existing institutions and is entirely unaccountable to the electorate.

    The point about these and most other quangos is that while their remits sound good, actually no good really comes of them. We will only tackle the quango problem if we accept that there are “good” ideas which the state shouldn’t bother with. It’s no good just transferring quango powers to, say, councils. We need less government!

    • Acorn
      Posted July 7, 2009 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Quite right about the New Forest National Park, the thing was an expensive joke from day one. Given the £3 million plus, New Forest District Council was fully capable of running the New Forest. At least the CEO got kicked out.

  19. John Moss
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    The Housing Corporation has already gone, John. It, together with English Partnerships and the old Commission for New Towns, was subsumed in to the Homes and Communities Agency, which could be scrapped, along with the Regional Development Agencies and their project spending transferred to Councils.

    You could probably lop 25% of the headline spend to reflect the duplication of tasks which currently exists and in doing so save £1.5-£2 billion per annum.

  20. Ross Warren
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    How about trimming Cafcass. Of course they do an important job.
    However Cafcass invited my family to a consultation day. It was as if Money was no object. Our train fairs alone amounted to £600.00, we were treated to dinner (£40) and given shopping vouchers as an incentive £30.00 we were then allowed to enjoy all the facilities at the national space centre £50.00 minimum entrance for a family of four. I am absolutely certain that most people would have been willing to have filled out the consultation questionnaires by post. How much that single day cost the tax payer is impossible to judge but I estimated that it must have been into the tens of thousands. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate what Cafcass does but there seems to me that savings should be sought from all Quango and Government departments. Lets end the Nu-labour inspired gravy train, which is very bad value for the hard pressed tax-payer.

    • Denis Smith
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      Pardon my ignorance, but what is Cafcass? Even by the shocking general standards of quangoes, it sounds particularly cavalier with public money.

      • Ross Warren
        Posted July 6, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

        to quote them: http://www.cafcass.gov.uk/

        “Cafcass looks after the interests of children involved in family proceedings. We work with children and their families, and then advise the courts on what we consider to be in the best interests of individual children.”

        So in some respects they do a good job, but I was shocked at how much money they wasted that day.

  21. Yorkshireman
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Equality and Human Rights Commission.

    Pointless and expensive Quango (its costs went UP when the predecessor organisations merged) run by politcally correct Nu Labour placemen.

    • Citizen Responsible
      Posted July 21, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      A report has now been published criticising the management and spending of the EHRC. Five out of the sixteen commissionaires have resigned since April in protest about the management of the EHRC. Also, against the rules, 7 senior staff were paid a total of £620,000 in redundancy pay and then re-employed as consultants.
      The public spending watchdog has refused to sign off the accounts. Apparently, the government was told about the financial irregularities at the time but took no action. Despite all this, Trevor Phillips was re-appointed as chairman for another 3 years with the full support of Harriet Harman, days before the report was published and Trevor Phillips in now on holiday. I assume the timing was deliberate.

  22. Kit
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I forgot the most invasive quango of the lot the BBC.

  23. David Shield
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I too am a retired police officer and echo the previous correpondents comments. The police force (not service!) should concentrate on its core business – namely keeping law and order and detecting crime. Any other non core businesses such as diversity should be got rid of immediately. My old force has a massive transport department, supply and service of all police vehicles which I am sure could be done cheaper in the private sector. There are a whole host of admin functions which could be stripped out and the money used to properly support front line officers to reduce their paperwork and increase their genuine patrol time. When did you last see a patrolling police officer on foot – as rare as a Gordon Brown speech in which he understands the concept that debt has to be repaid!!!

  24. David Eyles
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    The HSE will do for a start. All of it. No prisoners. This total waste of space and my money recently sent me the most patronising document I have yet received from any government department, including Defra (who do a good line in patronising b……..ks when they want to). HSE are now campaigning to justify their own existence – a sure fire indicator that they are worried, and well they might be. In this case, it is not just the attitudes towards a zero risk society which they engender and that is so debilitating, it is the way they have teamed up with the insurance industry to make sure that the productive economy is beaten to death.

    My second choice is to alert you to the fact that there are hundreds of “mini quangos” which are difficult to spot because they are funded from mulitple sources. So, looking at rural sustainability as an instance, you will find that there are lots of little quangos devoted to funding, say, local food. They gain their funding from RDAs and Defra and local government and doubtless indirectly from central government funding to local government. Their existence is hard to spot unless some leaflet lands on your doorstep. Look carefully at the logos on those leaflets and you get an idea as to who is involved.

    Each one is managed by a committee which is chaired, often by cronies of Gordon’s from the Scottish Labour Party. Another direction to look is to check all the interests of Labour peers, and you will find that many of them sit on multiple agancies, and thereby drawing allowances from each of them in addition to their H of Lords allowances and expenses.

    Some of these mini quangos are set up to do a genuine job, shall we say in funding rural enterprise. The problem is that funding applications are so bureaucratic, very few applications succeed and it becomes obvious that the principle aim of the quango is to preserve its revenue stream and pay its employees and committee memmbers, whilst actually paying out very little for the outward purpose of the quango. Another sub-industry that hangs on to this system by the coat tails, is the private sector consultants whose work in “helping” applications for funding (by the production of feasibility studies and business plans), is built in to the costs of applying for the funding. The frequent outcome of all this is that the consultants are paid by the quango; the quango is paid by the taxpayer, but the applicant often does not get the money. The nett result is expense to the taxpayer, time and own money wasted by the applicant and all for neglible benefit to the community.

  25. Nick
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    John, the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health has already ceased to exist – it was abolished in March 2008!

  26. Tony
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Mr Hammond was on the Daily Politics today and didn’t have an answer with regards to the 17 new quangos that the Tories have already committed to introducing when asked. Oh dear!

  27. Paul
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Controversially maybe but I would scrap

    Businesslink ..services are provided and in my opinion better and cheaper by Chambers of Commerce, FSB and IOD etc.

    Local Govt. Association

    Regional Assemblies

    Regional Development agencies

    Learning and skills council ( provided by local colleges, universities and education authority)

    Invest in… Locate In…. Both are better provided by regional authority

    Equalities commission

    Oh I can’t go on listing them, scrap the lot and any that cause a problem by not being there reform with a better remit

  28. k
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Start with the FSA
    insuring financial products would do away with the need for this useless quango, which just keeps on growing. No one, not even the government, has any control over this organisation.
    Those who are regulated by the FSA do not even have any right to appeal their decisions.
    The cost of this impotent regulator runs into MILLIONS each year and still they are unable to produce any results. They have failed time & time again, yet they continue to award themselves huge pay rises & even bigger bonus payments. They spend huge amounts on christmas parties & leaving shindigs for failed executives. they had the cheek to complain about Fred Goodwins pension. Those at the top of the regulation tree (names someone) who was forced to step down after the Northern Rock fiasco, walked away with a bigger pension than Fred.
    This present government has just awarded them MORE power!
    So come on Mr Cameron do as you say you will and rid us of these blood sucking leeches and their ilk.

  29. Mark
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    The Horserace Betting Levy Board should go. Why does the government need to be involved in betting (other than through legislation) at all?

  30. no one
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    oh yea speed camera partnerships, how could i forget, so much national wealth wasted on such poor results

    get rid of them AND ban anyone who has worked for them from working for any public sector employer, we really dont need people like that working for a free society

    • somebody else
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      “get rid of them AND ban anyone who has worked for them from working for any public sector employer” and “free society” seems a bit of a mismatch. Would you also tar and feather traffic wardens?

  31. Denis Smith
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    With all due respect to other peoiple’s opinions, some of the commenters on here don’t, it seems to me, really “get it”. Talk of assessing quangoes, judging their “value for money” etc implies the setting-up of a further “quango-judging quango” which would be another black hole for money. All such approaches are from a left-wing, big-state mindset, as are suggestions to “streamline delivery” etc.
    To deal effectively with the over-bureaucratized state, you cannot take such “top-down” actions – they won’t achieve anything (except possibly make things worse) – experience teaches us that all the time; on the contrary, you must approach the problem from the bottom up; that is to say, begin with the view that all quangoes are a complete waste of time and money, and all should be scrapped. Then only the ones that can demonstrate compellingly that they serve a vital function can be allowed to continue (and even those could probably have their budgets cut by 50%). It’s the only way.

  32. Alan Wheatley
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    The “Think!” campaign. Not sure who is responsible within Transport, but it is a total waste of money.

  33. ESSEX VOTERS VOICE
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    John – last year this political research organisation advocated to Tory H.O. and a local MP that the Conservatives encourage the public to become ‘whistleblowers’ to highlight the gross government waste that our research showed was weighing heavily on the minds of voters.

    ***************************************************

    WE SUGGESTED THE CONSERVATIVES SHOULD SAY:

    “Good ideas and real problems should be made public but our present government are a secretive and defensive bunch! However – whichever way you decide to vote next time – you can help us to help you and the community now with your comments and ideas.

    In your jobs and your everyday lives you probably see or hear about many examples of waste, inefficiency and sheer stupidity that you know will cost us, the taxpayers, money in the end. So often these things defy plain common sense. Sometimes you get very angry but generally you don’t know what to do about it and feel you’d be banging your head against a brick wall anyway!

    This is where VOTERS VOICE comes in!

    HOW YOU CAN JOIN IN

    1. By contributing to either of our 2 campaigns:

    · WAR ON WASTE
    · FIGHT FOR EFFICIENCY

    2. By joining one of our research and policy groups
    in one of these categories:

    · Non-Conservative voters
    · Younger potential voters aged 18-25
    · Women voters
    · Conservative voters with new ideas

    Perhaps you could become a Group Leader and run your
    own small research and policy group.”
    ************************************************

    Sadly we received no response so it is good to see that your own campaign here is eliciting similar information.
    If there’s a way of getting your message to the folk who work in ordinary government departments you might be amazed at how willingly you could gather invaluable information for the public good – as well as recruit an army of party voters and willing ‘waste-saver’ volunteers for when the campaign proper begins next June.

  34. Simon Denis
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    The Charity Commission – clearly now nothing but a politicised agency designed to drive private schools out of business.

  35. Posted July 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Why stop at quangos? During WW2 Churchill got by with nine ministers. Today’s cabinet apparently has thirty two of them.

  36. Adam Collyer
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    How about “Passenger Focus” (the “independent public body set up by the Government to protect the interests of Britain’s rail passengers”).

    Govt grant 05/06: £4.1M. Govt grant 08/09 £5.6M plus “additional funding for plans to extend the role to bus passenger representation”. Staffing in 2006: 42. Staffing now: “over 50”.

    http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk

  37. Terry Hamblin
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I suppose I am a member of a QUANGO, the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee. I’m not sure that you would want the experiments that we prevent to go unregulated, though.

    • Paul
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

      No Terry you are right, but why aren’t you part of the department for Health reporting to an elected Secretary of State?

  38. Scouse Billy
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Get rid of ASH (Action on Smoking and Health). The Scottish branch alone takes a million pounds a year of our money.

    They debase science and tell outright lies about the “dangers” of passive smoking.

    They own shares in GlaxoSmithKline who provide ludicrously expensive nicotine gums and patches that don’t work.

    I want to know the real dangers of my lifestyle choices based on sound scientific methodology not to be preached to by mendacious zealots.

    • Ross Warren
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      Nicotine gums have fallen in price…try Asda and they do work. I stopped smoking almost ten years ago. Its a shame I’m now addicted to the gum L.O.L.

  39. no one
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    noticed the article in the telegraph saying how high the percentage of MPs from independant schools will be after the election if the conservatives get in?

    sadly this means a one term government, as more public school accents on the TV speaking for the conservatives will quickly grate on the public

    really really suggest you tell dave and his mates they are making a massive mistake in this

    and why does the conservative party waste so much talent from the state schools who would make great MPs?

    not nice, not meritocracy, and not likely to last long

    • Ross Warren
      Posted July 6, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      There are Tory MP’s from State schools. Try Mark Harper as an example.

      • Ross Warren
        Posted July 6, 2009 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        And don’t forget Ken Clarke…

    • [[NAME EDITED]]
      Posted July 8, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      The only “cure” for this (if it is a disease) is the reversal of various disastrous educational policies thought up by socialists and continued or at least connived at by conservative. It will take a while; in the meantime, if you are reasonably well educated and middle-aged or below, you will probably have been at a public school or one of the few remaining grammars.

      • no one
        Posted July 9, 2009 at 2:31 am | Permalink

        yes there are a few examples of good MP’s from state schools

        re ” if you are reasonably well educated and middle-aged or below, you will probably have been at a public school or one of the few remaining grammars.” what total and utter nonsense

        out in the the real world there are lots of people who would make great MP’s who had a state education, many struggled through the poor comprehensive system, many are keeping this country solvent in their own ways

        whats worse it attitudes like this, and daves, and army generals, and so much of society that folk are in positions because their public school education is so much better, and they are automatically the best

        we need a radical real meritocracy agenda

        its going to be laughable having more ethnic and female faces in the commons when the whole place speaks in public school accents, how representative is that going to be?

        such a joke, and not being taken seriously as far as i can see

        • [[NAME EDITED]]
          Posted July 9, 2009 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          Ah! A reply from the “folk”.

  40. adam
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    BBC

  41. Posted July 6, 2009 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Health & safety executive

    UK Atomic Energy Commission – not actually abolish but cut down its regualtory role to something justifed by the genuine risk ie like the sort of inspections we do of oil & gas refineries which are theoreticaly equally & in fact much more dangerous,

    Equality & Human rights Commission £71 M A YEAR

    EVERY FAKECHARITY WHICH BETWEEN TODAY & THE ELECTION LOBBIES FOR MORE GOVERNMENT SPENDING & REGULATION

    Council for the Protection of Rural England & the rest of the Rafia Mafia.

    All quangos regulating housebuilding

    Sustainable Development Commission – let Porrit get a job

    EU – I think it fits the definition of quasi-Non- Governental, not having a constitution.

    BBC – well privatise it under BBC Worldwide (the arm that sells programmes overseas where they have to compete for viewers who have a choice).

    Ofcom – instead of regulating high standards what they actually do is ensure ITV is as politicaly obedient as the BBC – see their bending over backwards attitude to attack the Global warming Scandal programme with their failure to see any bias in ITN’s …. well maybe better not but it relates to Bosnia.

  42. Adrian Peirson
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Suggestions for abolition is a pointless excercise, the Govt will not give them up, it would lose it’s absolute control over the Proletariat.

    Since 80% of our Laws are made in Brussels and these Quangos dictate so much of what goes on in our society, it is reasonable to suggest they are set up and run by and for Brussels, therefore even less chance of them being abolished.
    The Conseravtives may be able to make a token Gesture to appease the Masses but it will be only that because the Quangos
    are set up by and for Brussels.

    http://quangos.ercouncil.org/search/

  43. Colin J
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I would like to lobby that One North East should be high on the list for the chop. If ever an organisation existed purely for the benefit of those on the payroll then this is it.

  44. Richard
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    In sending this I have just spent 10 instructive minutes considering OFQUALS April 2008 Gender Equality Annual Report.

    A document written in a special “inclusive” language (simple-minded gibberish) itself the product of the Inclusive Language Section of the Communication and Marketing Division with its own “Equalities Library” which otherwise in 2008 concerned itself with conducting “Pulse Surveys” (?) to “guage staff opinion” about the move of the organisation to new offices in Coventry.

    It discloses the existence of very many (more than 10) “Teams” : Corporate Equality, Skills for Life each within “Divisions”, it would appear without number (or identifiable function): Diversity and Inclusion, Communication and Marketing (how do you “market” examination assesment?). Whatever else they think they do Ofqual are very good at producing documents redolent in their verbose meaninglessness of the scriptural manuals of a Cult.

    The truth is in the detail. All of these people in their shiny new offices (where thye have been too busy to publish ANY of the various Research projecst and Reports this Report promises!) are disproportionately (at least30% of the reports text) concerned with their own pay and conditions and ensuring that this sub-division of Mr Balls’ empire is full of ungovernable poorly qualified bureacrats who have written the most “generous conditions in the education sector” into their pensionable salaries and are moreover expert at the culture of victim self-identification and complaint.

    Best of all you can apply for “jobs” online. I mean right now!

    I tell you Mr Redwood they and organisations like them are going to be a nightmare to get rid of because their only real function is to provide employment for clients of the State and someone to blame when the part of the State they are meant to be serving misfunctions as it has so spectacularily with this infuriating useless dangerous stupid Quango.

  45. Freddy
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Anything and everything to do with the global warming scam.

  46. Nick
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I would start with the OFT.

    I ask them a FOI request as to which debt firms were making misleading calls to consumers in debt, signing them up for expensive debt management plans, high interest rate loans etc.

    Their reply, they refused.

    It’s clearly in the public interest, but it isn’t in the interest of the OFT because it means admitting they weren’t on the ball, and it isn’t in the interest of the industry, who want to screw people.

    Public interest should outrank any other consideration.

    Witness Equitable life for similar effects, and the banking crisis where the common factor to it all is regulatory failure.

    Get rid of the lot.

    Nick

  47. AndrewSouthLondon
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if its still with us – I suspect yes – but how about “The Retained Organs Commission”, set up in the wake of the Alderhey scandal where a consultant pathologist pinched and pickled interesting bits of dead babies for medical education and research, bur forgot to ask the grieving relatives.

    When last I wandered through Hannibal House at Elephant and Castle, I glimpsed lots of people standing around PCs chatting, doing very little. When someone sets up a quango as a knee jerk reaction, they fail to give it an expiry date. So they go on for ever. Wouldn’t you like to be paid for doing nothing? Plenty would.

  48. Ross Warren
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    John were did you buy your software:

    This is what you reply E-mails say, “John Redwood MP inform respectfully: your comment on post Suggest a quango or three for the bonfire now have new reply” and “You can see detail for the comment on this post here:

    http://www.johnredwoodsdiary.com/2009/07/06/suggest-a-quango-or-three-for-the-bonfire/#comment-41375

    Thanks for your attention of John Redwood MP

    This email is sended by blog system automatically, don’t reply this mail please.

    Really its not up to standard now is it?

  49. Posted July 6, 2009 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    As I’ve posted before: consolidation of the Energy Saving Trust, Act On C02 and The Carbon Trust.

  50. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    How about the new quangos your party is planning to introduce? Another damp squib I’m afraid. Philip Hammond was taken apart by Andrew Neil on “The Daily Politics” today. Is there no one on your front bench who is fully briefed and can explain the policies? It doesn’t inspire confidence for if/when you form the government.

  51. Paul
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    I understand from Guido’s Blog that in fact David Cameron is proposing 17 new QUANGO’s….oh dear!

  52. Anne Jones
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Please get rid of the Regional Development Agencies. They are unwanted and expensive. Please get rid of them forthwith, if not sooner.

  53. Adrian Peirson
    Posted July 6, 2009 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    How about the Bank of England, then we can coin our own money free of charge without having to borrow it at interest.
    No public borrowing, No govt Debt, No govt debt, no need for an Income Tax.

    http://www.ukcolumn.org/bank-of-england-abolish-it/

    • Freddy
      Posted July 7, 2009 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      So if you sell me your car, I can pay you in banknotes issued by The Bank of Freddy ?
      Quick, where are my crayons …

      • Adrian Peirson
        Posted July 7, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        If you believe it is in our interests to borrow worthless bits of paper at full face value plus interest rather than Print and coin it ourselves free of charge can I ask that you lobby Parliament to borrow said money from me and I will Undercut the BofE by 1000% and give you £1Million after I get the contract.

        No wait,

        I’m feeling generous today, if you can convince the Govt to Borrow these worthless bits of paper from me rather than the BofE, I will give you £1Billion pounds for your services.

        • Freddy
          Posted July 7, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

          So much for being polite. Let me rephrase :

          You can make up some Bank of Adrian baknotes if you like. But if I sell you my car, I will not accept them in payment, because I can’t use them to pay for anything else. Because they are worthless pieces of paper covered with the scribblings of a loony. Probably in crayon.

          Twit.

  54. Simon
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    Private Limited Company ACPO. Unelected, unaccountable and powerful.

  55. Stuart Fairney
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Mr Cameron

    “it would be far too simplistic for me to stand here and announce some kind of ‘Bonfire of the Quangos.’

    Oh dear

    • [[NAME EDITED]]
      Posted July 8, 2009 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      “Too simplistic”? How simplistic does he think he ought to be?

      • Stuart Fairney
        Posted July 8, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        I fear this is politico speak for “I do not want to seriously address the issue in detail, just make a lot of warm sounding noise”

  56. Brian E
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Far from cutting Quangos, according to several political blogs today, David Cameron has proposed 17 new quangos.
    Doesn’t sound a good start.

  57. backofanenvelope
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    This is all dancing on the head of a pin stuff! The State has a income/expenditure gap of at least £175 BILLION pounds this year and for at least the following two years.

    Any suggestions by Mr Redwood or any of his correspondents need to address this problem.

    How about a game of scrapping enough expenditure to balance the budget?

  58. Mark, Edinburgh
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Note OFGEM (the Energy regulator) is conducting a review of their purpose at the moment. Somehow I just don’t think voluntary disbandement is part of the remit.

    Its assumed that there is a need for a quango like OFGEM in the energy area. However actually I think the OFT and a much simpler and less costly way of regulating NGG will suffice.

    OFGEM were a poor consumerist champion, have introduced unneccessary and very costly complexies to the network rules and are unable to take a strategic view, which should be in any casepolitical.

    The result has merely been to dismembe the British companies on the consumerist altar but with the inadvertent result that they were simply taken over by the Continetal monopolies.

    Of course without OFGEM we would need to send a governemnt official to the new council of European energy regulators!

  59. skooch
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    The LSC will cost us £12.157 BILLION, 09/10.

    Is there anyone who can tell me what they really, really do?

  60. Stuart Fairney
    Posted July 7, 2009 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    If I may JR, I think 87 and counting maybe a record blog response.

    Is this (Quango abolition) the election winning issue as council house sales were in the 1980’s ~ maybe?

  61. Ross Warren
    Posted July 8, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Is this (Quango abolition) the election winning issue?

    It hits a nerve. I think most people have had at least one run in with these jobs-worths and know instinctively that these unselected organisations are draining the coffers.

  62. adam
    Posted July 8, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    cut costs by actually talking to people who work in public services. its easy
    whats hard is to think up lots of new selling points to justify yet more law.

  63. Stuart Fairney
    Posted July 9, 2009 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Might I also request another vote on the Welsh assembly; Remember the last one? 25% yes, 25% no, 50% didn’t care enough to vote. Hardly the settled will of the people for constitutional change!

    Of course it would mean sacking some useless third rate politicians.

  64. Citizen Responsible
    Posted July 18, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    The Learning and Skills Council.

    According to Friday’s Daily Mail, the Learning and Skills Council, Britain’s biggest quango (annual budget £12 billion, 3500 staff), is being disbanded and replaced by 3 new quangos next April. The council wasted hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money through catastrophic mismanagement of a college building programme. The chief executive resigned in March with a £100,000 payoff. We also learn that 4 of the executives have pension funds valued at more than £1 million. Yet again, we see these people rewarded for failure. How many of the failed executives will still be employed in the 3 replacement quangos?

  65. Citizen Responsible
    Posted August 9, 2009 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    According to figures obtained by the Sunday Times under the Freedom of Information Act, quangos have spent millions of pounds hiring celebrities over the past 3 years for such events as prize giving ceremonies and after dinner speeches.
    The most star struck quango of them all was “The Learning and Skills Council”, which spent £400,000 hiring more than 50 personalities. This is another example of quango extravagance while failing to deliver the core service.

  66. Toby 2
    Posted June 27, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Quangoes are havens for useless Labour placemen ! It's time to abolish them all.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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