Quango abolition

Recent governments have allowed too many so called independent bodies to continue, to increase their fees, charges and budgets and often do a poor  job. When they let us down Ministers get the blame, as the Environment Agency has on sewage discharges, the Rail regulators and public sector bodies have on train services, the North Sea Transition Authority has on energy self sufficiency and cost, The Post Office has on treatment of its sub postmasters, HS2 has over building a railway to time and budget, the Highways Agency has over keeping the main roads open and free flowing and the Border controllers have over illegal migration to name a few.

The public want controlled migration, good roads, affordable railways, well run Post Offices , more of our own oil and gas for our needs and clean water. They do not want Ministers who say it was not us, and responsible bodies who suddenly claim it was nothing to do with them. Ministers tell me with these bodies they are warned off intervening and told they have independent powers. In  practice they are creatures of the state. Ministers need to get them reporting to them  in an agreed and sensible way. Ministers should act as the non executive chairman or the responsible  shareholder, They can delegate their authority but they need to know the up to date position, supervise the annual report and the budgets, and ask good questions if there are complaints. They need to be ready to praise or blame, reward or fire the top management related to their conduct and performance.

In some cases we would be better off without these bodies. Take the work back into the department and supervise it directly.


  1. Mark B
    January 18, 2024

    Good morning

    The whole point of the EA and other such bodies was that, over time, these organisations would take their orders from the EU bypassing government.

    The very fact that they are still in place and unlikely to ever be closed down really rather tellls its own story.

    1. PeteB
      January 18, 2024

      Mark, Sir John,
      Once again Henry Thoreau had it right: “Government is best which governs least” (Civil Disobedience, 1849)

      As Mark points out, remove the quangos and the problems change instantly. Ministers can then look to the real service provider to deliver higher standards.

      1. IanB
        January 18, 2024

        @PeteB – seems like we have a bunch of lazy freeloaders that will do anything but thier real job got voted in to serve but refuse

    2. Cynic
      January 18, 2024

      The state of the roads is symptomatic of the public sector as a whole. Pot holes, faded white lines, blocked drainage, obscured and dirty road signs. The impression is one of neglect and incompetence.

    3. Ian wragg
      January 18, 2024

      Your government has no intention of removing these Quangos. They make perfect cover for lazy and incompetent ministers.
      They are all aligned to the EU and follow UN WEF guidance. Most are nothing more than taxpayer funded fifth columns.

      1. Hope
        January 18, 2024

        Mayors and police commissioners not wanted by us but EU. EU and remainer plan for Balkanisation of England.Same for HS2

      2. IanB
        January 18, 2024

        @IanWragg +1

    4. Donna
      January 18, 2024

      Correct. Most of the Quangos were implementing and enforcing EU Regulations, and they still are. The EU the Not-a-Conservative-Government claims to have left, whilst ensuring that we are only semi-detached and still controlled, via “Trade Agreement” and the Northern Ireland betrayal.

      1. Hope
        January 18, 2024


        Sunak betrayed the nation with his EU Windsor sell out. He has tried to coerce and force DUP MPs into submission to accept vassal state status!

        JR and coknow this but put party before country as we saw last night. Taking back control of borders JR 8 years on and still under EU control of ECJ and ECHR!

      2. IanB
        January 18, 2024

        @Donna – as each day passes, the lies just grow

        1. Donna
          January 19, 2024

          Yes, and the polling numbers decline. When will the few real Conservatives accept they are propping up a Disaster.

    5. dixie
      January 18, 2024

      A very good point, these people and organisations need to understand they are not irreplaceable.
      A quango is always a middleman between the contracting party, the government, and the people and groups that actually do the work. I suggest picking an appropriate quango and doing a drains up review where the middllemen must prove they add value/efficiency/effectiveness to the delivery of a service or get fired – pour encourager les autres. Do it rapidly and transparently.
      One selector of appropriateness is that you have a plan A – a replacement.
      Then start a march through the quangos repeating the same process until they all get the message.
      Ideally the same would also be done with civil service departments and ministers with their numerous secretaries and under-secretaries of state.

    6. Peter
      January 18, 2024

      Parliament is diminished.

      Quangos are usually single interest groups. Giving them the final say on their area means the big picture is not taken into account. Sensible outcomes may get overridden.

      If anything goes wrong ministers say it was nothing to do with me, but quango chiefs are never in the spotlight either. Nobody takes the blame.

      Quangos are useful for patronage. Quango jobs are a cushy number to which many of the wrong types aspire. Do removing the will not be easy.

      Judges also have the final say on areas on which parliament used to rule.

      If you have cronies in place this can be useful for pushing through change without interference.

      Voters matter even less.

      1. IanB
        January 18, 2024

        @Peter +1
        Then who gives the Quangos our money? Who takes the money from us with fear of prison attributed to the deed? So who is the real failure?
        Then we must not forget the 14years of promises that amounted we will manage spending if you give us your vote. Maybe they just lied

    7. a-tracy
      January 18, 2024

      Yes, Mark, that is my feeling on the matter. It’s no wonder the remain in the EU MPs wanted that to continue.

    8. Hope
      January 18, 2024

      We have more powerful quangos than that, ECHR.

      A foreign body with unnamed adjudicator allowed to decide control over our immigration/foreign policy! ECJ still applies and imposed a fine cross our country. Therefore very much u der EU control at the choice of Sunak and his remainer cabinet. Is the EU not a quango? Take back control of our borders we were told 8 years ago!! Sunak and Hunt last night made it clear they do not want to take back control or make the UK a sovereign state.

      The weak put party and their jobs before country and national security- we do not know who the 17,300 missing illegal criminals are. Sunak just made enemies with another terrorist group threatening our country. If one was found here could he/she be deported!

      11 Tory MPs wanted to take back control and give power to parliament, the overwhelming majority did not. How did you vote JR?

      1. IanB
        January 18, 2024

        @Hope – Yet we are paying and empowering those we actually vote for to be our legislators – in return they serve us by refusing to manage and do there job. Basically surrendering democracy to what they regard as higher authority

    9. Guy+Liardet
      January 18, 2024

      The climate change committee is the most dangerous, the most scientifically ignorant, the most overpaid, the most biased, peopled with climatists with financial skin in the game, dishonest, peddling a cult unsupported by the facts, lying, incompetent, fanciful. Dump them before they ruin us for under one per cent of global CO2. (China 31%). Nobody admires us. Net Zero is impossible. Nobody worldwide believes in it. Major coal producers fell about laughing at us during COP28. My MP Flick Drummond is silent on all this

  2. Javelin
    January 18, 2024

    Quangos and other sub-democratic organisations are out of control
    because they are not subject to the right wing process of self-calibration.

    Markets self-calibrate through prices
    Science self-calibrates through peer reviews
    Justice self-calibrates through judgement
    Politics self-calibrates through voting
    Life self-calibrates through families

    But quangos are do not calibrate because they are synthetically designed entities created in the minds of technocrats and are thus able to avoid real world forces and the calibration forces of regulators and watchdogs.

    Right wing societies can be designed just like synthetic left wing societies but they must be designed so they can self-calibrate and then be left to self-calibrate and evolve. It is therefore crucial to design the self-calibration processes into the systems in a society.

    1. BOF
      January 18, 2024

      That is how it should work. But The Science of CC and NZ has replaced real science and a whole new science was invented to justify lockdowns and dangerous untested gene therapy.

      Justice is not working, politics has been corrupted (we vote for the lesser of the evils) and politicians have for years been eroding the traditional family.

    2. Narrow Shoulders
      January 18, 2024

      Markets have the added bonus of competition

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        January 18, 2024

        As does proper science

        1. IanT
          January 18, 2024

          Unless the BBC decides that the “Science is settled” – when any potentiual debate is ended

    3. dixie
      January 18, 2024

      Not even “right-wing”, in the commercial world you survive and prosper because you provide a valuable service of value to your customer whether internal or external.
      The key issue here is that there is no competition, unlike the private sector where there is constant competition, you are always at war and cannot afford makeweights.
      BTW I disagree that justice self-calibrates through judgements – insolvency practitioners as officers of the court can dictate what legal claims against them can be submitted to a tribunal – so no justice there, nor even a chance of judgement. Even with judgements against them they can still break the same laws again because the cost to them is less than not breaking the laws.
      For justice you at least need to have enforcement of judgement, which brings us back to quangos etc where perhaps policy is not enforced.

    4. Ian B
      January 18, 2024

      @Javelin – who pays for them, so who should manage them.

    5. David Andrews
      January 18, 2024

      I agree with your analysis but you do not say or suggest what the ” self-calibration” process should be. They are monopolies with no obvious competition, often a law unto themselves where power corrupts. An obvious start for these monopolies is, as our host says, to reinstate accountability to Parliament through Ministers with the power to hire and fire the CEO, and the obligation to report on operational financial performance against externally defined criteria. The Companies Act for example provides specific criteria that companies and their directors must meet with significant penalties if they do not meet them.

    6. a-tracy
      January 18, 2024

      “Justice self-calibrates through judgement.” How does it?
      I feel the Judge in the Michaela school case has put that school and the Head and her key staff under immense stress and risk to their safety, insisting the case was publicly heard. What recourse do any of those people have if they are hurt by the Judges ruling, who does the ‘judgement’ what mechanism is there?

    7. hefner
      January 18, 2024

      What a pseudo-intellectual charabia!
      ‘Markets self-calibrate through prices’: except when there are cartels (oil, gas, other extractive resources) and/or international events from which the actors in ‘the self-calibrating markets’ will try to benefit.
      ‘Science self-calibrates through peer-reviews’: interesting that a system that has been working for decades is now attacked by people with very little scientific expertise but deep pockets and hardly hidden political agenda.
      ‘Justice self-calibrates through judgment’: one can then wonder what the ‘Enemies of the people’ type of press is trying to do.
      ‘Politics self-calibrate through voting’: as if multiple pressure groups from all sides of politics were not intervening. As if political decisions were not taken considering many more variables than what the voters said. And as if the voting system was not already biasing the results of what the voters might have wanted to say.
      ‘Life self-calibrates through families’: well, maybe. One could also exchange ‘families’ for ‘communities’ as life is more than simply producing children and educating them during their prime years. Isn’t there life after adolescence?

      I’m afraid your point of view is a bitty reductionist. As if self-calibration were a right wing process. Is Darwin’s evolution a right wing process? Is population dynamics a right wing process? Is the self-calibration within AI system a right wing process? How does self-calibration work in chaotic systems likely to be governed by partial differential equations?

      1. Margaret
        January 19, 2024

        The generalisations sometimes apply.I don’t feel it is false intellect but rather taking an aerial view which of course reveals much contradiction.It is playing at philosophy incorrectly.Language is used wrongly to correspond to meaning.For example common problems are those associated with a pre supposition that they understand the difference between logic,reason ,reduction etc.
        Due to lack of understanding English I come across this every day. Patients tell me that they have flu, when they mean they have a runny nose.

  3. Lifelogic
    January 18, 2024

    Exactly – the BoE is another appallingly incompetent organisation and the committee for Climate Change but Ministers decided to push the mad net zero agenda, to allow all the QE and to have HS2 a mad project from the outset pushed by the dire Lord Adonis.

    1. Peter Wood
      January 18, 2024

      Have you come across Dr. Judith Curry, REAL climate scientist? She can speak from experience of both sides on the climate debate, having once been funded for her work, then losing it because she found…errors.
      Google her interview with John Stossel on YT.
      We need a balance of voices on climate change, to stop wasting money and come to the right answer. Politicians need to know, the ‘Science is NOT settled’, despite Al Gore’s outbursts.

      1. Lifelogic
        January 19, 2024

        Indeed we needed sensible scientists to counter to the lockdown and net harm Covid vaccine lunacy too. Also on the clear lab leak(?) origins.

    2. Lifelogic
      January 18, 2024

      Lord Arbuthnot just now on Talk Radio on the Post Office scandal “Justice comes eventually in this country”. Such a touching and totally misguided faith in the UK legal system! Hundreds of thousands never get anything like justice before they die – Blood Contamination, Hillsbrough, the Covid Vaccine damaged… I suppose the Brimingham 4 and Guildford 6 did eventually and Andrew Malkinson sort of did did after 20 years of fighting. But how are these years every to be returned to him? I suspect he has not even had any of his rather pathetic compensation as yet. It is paid at far less than an MPs salary per year of wrongful incarceration at max of £6.60 per hour of incarceration.

      We of course only hear about those that eventually have their convictions overturned so we get rather a misleading impression – the innocent who never get justice are rarely heard about.

    3. Lifelogic
      January 18, 2024

      So Sunak in his statements just now:- Now is the time to tackle immigration – No Sunak that was at least 13 years ago when Cameron Promised to the tens of thousands.

      We are making progress. No you are not at all (reductions due to poor weather) 745,000 PA and that is net.

      We are cutting taxes – sure mate a tiny cut in NI but increases in tax due to frozen allowance of 3 times more so a vast net increase.

      Do you think endless lying helps your case or are you so deluded that you believe the lies & drivel you spout?

      1. Hope
        January 18, 2024

        3.5 million in last two years when he was Chancellor and PM when his manifesto stated to reduce below 219,000. Liar.

    4. Mitchel
      January 18, 2024

      I’ve just seen a clip of the German farmers protest in Berlin.As their tractors filed past the Russian embassy,embassy staff set off a loud siren in a show of support;the tractors responded with their horns.


      Is Germany beginning to experience the “staggering back of the tired European spirit to the great Asiatic mother” that Herman Hesse predicted a century ago?!

    5. Hope
      January 18, 2024

      All created by the Tory party who lied to saythey were getting rid of them to get elected. There are more now than when they came in!! Add it to the list of lies/ broken promises.

  4. Lifelogic
    January 18, 2024

    Mass migration is about to sweep away the West’s blinkered ruling class
    The political elite seems incapable of grasping the challenge posed by legal and illegal immigration
    ALLISTER HEATH today is surely spot on as usual.

    As was Andrew Bridge in his excess deaths debate. Available on Dr John Campbell Youtube.

    The only thing shocking about a 1997-style wipeout is that Sunak might keep 169 seats
    It’s one thing to alienate the floating voter, but they’ve been acting like they were their natural supporters’ own worst enemy

    1. Everhopeful
      January 18, 2024

      I was once walking across a field ( those green things we used to have) with my dog when a bloke loomed up in front of me brandishing a gun.
      A pheasant flew from out of the hedge and the bloke began shooting, totally oblivious to me or my dog.
      We could have been hit.
      (The man was a parvenu made rich by property dealing. He knew nothing of country codes etc).
      I shouted but he took no notice.
      There was something in his face and eyes that was so terrible, so terrifying, so blind to everything but killing the pheasant.
      And I see that now in so many of the zealots and the politically captured who come on our tv screens.
      The predator class IS at war with us. Its objectives..our minds and spirits.

      1. Bloke
        January 18, 2024

        I wasn’t the bloke you describe.
        As Roy Jenkins opined when he was Home Secretary: It is better to disarm the criminal than arm the police.

    2. glen cullen
      January 18, 2024

      Why would you expect the people to vote for you, if you put the party before the people ….this parliamentary tory party can’t see beyond their next job …they talk duty but think career

    3. Ian B
      January 18, 2024

      @Lifelogic – think it through the whole of parliament is a useless function it all needs to be replaced with democracy – not this low rent shower of spiv salesmen

      1. Hope
        January 18, 2024

        The rogue parliament to prevent the UK, as a whole, is in full force and preferably not discussed to arouse public anger. Look at Snakes remainer cabinet.

    4. Mickey Taking
      January 18, 2024

      We have to trust the often stupid electorate to determine whether their Tory MP thinks for him/herself and is not cowering to the tread of Whips and Ministers/CS managers…..Those new prospective MPs should be evaluated as to local members wishes vs CCHQ imposition. 169 might end up being much improved Tory representation than what we see currently. All things must pass (George Harrison song).)

  5. Wanderer
    January 18, 2024

    Oh dear, how many times have we been promised a “bonfire of the quangos”?

    I believe you mean it, but your colleagues over the past decades have not delivered. Possibly because working for a quango is a lucrative job during the times the electorate has voted them out of their Westminster seats. All part of the merry-money-go-round.

  6. DOM
    January 18, 2024

    The back of democratic accountability has been broken and many powers now rest with progressive bodies whose purpose is simple, to promote a dangerous Marxist ideology at odds with freedom from the state and individualism.

    Take a look at OFCOM. This organisation has one purpose, to destroy editorial independence and impose a rigid progressive orthodoxy and this imposition will only get worse under fascist Labour. That this egregious organisation has expanded its powers under the quisling Tories reveals just how captured John’s party now is.

    I note the detritus now piling up in Davos. God only knows what they have planned.

    1. BOF
      January 18, 2024

      Disease X DOM, with a ‘vaccine’ waiting in readyness.

  7. Lemming
    January 18, 2024

    If only we had had a government in power for the last 13 years able to do something about these terrible quangos ….

  8. Cliff..Wokingham.
    January 18, 2024

    Sir John,
    Am I right in thinking you did a great deal of work on the idea of a “Bonfire of The Quangos” and “A Great Repeal Bill?” was that kicked into the long grass by Number Ten at the time? Is it likely to be resurected at anytime soon because, I think it was very popular amongst the electorate?

    Reply Yes, I worked up a big Agenda of deregulation at Cameron’s request prior to 2010. He gave the task of doing it to Nick Clegg, Deputy PM. I briefed him and he decided not to do it. I also took a list of EU laws to Johnson. He put the EU Retained law Bill through the Commons to reduce needless EU laws, but Badenoch/Sunak cancelled it.

  9. Richard1
    January 18, 2024

    We certainly would be better off without many of these bodies. If ministers are to take responsibility in a policy area then execution should be up to civil servants cleared employed by the state who can be dismissed (in theory) if they don’t do it. Under a minister who can be voted out if it goes badly. The rise of the unelected body with real power is one of the most pernicious lasting results of the Blair-brown govt. the conservatives have done nothing to reverse it. I assume it’s too late now, but something for the manifesto.

  10. agricola
    January 18, 2024

    Yes to all that SJR, but it will not happen under consocialism. Witness what happened last night to illegal immigration. Labour is for it, as are your party who failed to produce a Bill that will deal with it. To celebrate, 350 illegals arrived on the very day. The same old circus wil continue as it has for the past two years. The only beneficiaries being ambulance chasing lawyers. Time for most of your MPs to scan the job columns.

  11. Berkshire Alan
    January 18, 2024

    The real truth is John is we need competent Ministers, and that is almost impossible whilst they are treated like chess pieces on a board, and moved around at the Prime ministers will.
    Just as a Minister starts to understand and gets involved in their brief they are often moved on, or replaced with another new MP. who has to go all through the learning curve again.
    No surprise then that those who work with/for Ministers are reluctant to communicate properly with many of them, as they probably think it will be a waste of time, having explained the situation to all of the previous incumbents many times before only to find them replaced.

  12. Peter Gardner
    January 18, 2024

    You say, ‘In some cases we would be better off without these bodies. Take the work back into the department and supervise it directly.”
    if there is to be accountability there must be executive authority. Acting as Chairman is not enough. Why were these Quangos created in the first place? Was it not to separate policy making and advice from executive functions? That is a proper aim because previously the same people were tasked with both functions which caused confusion. And some people are better at executive functions than strategy/policy and vice versa. It seems the structure that was set up in many cases, if not all, failed to give ministers executive authority. If that requires appointment of only those ministers with prior executive responsibility so be it. It is quite normal for organisations in the private sector, the public sector and in the military to separate policy and strategy from execution and to employ different people in each branch rather than combine these functions in one job or structure.
    A variant of this ould be that Secretaries of State could act as chairmen but would have one minister on policy and strategy and another (or several) on execution but they would need separate teams under each, a small one on policy and strategy and the full department under the other, or others, responsible for execution, ie delivery. Large departments can be sub divided with appropriate delegation or a complete split.

    I see Mark B above makes the point that separating out government functions into Qangos gave the EU direct control, by-passing government and parliament. Whether or not that was the reason for establishing quangos I don’t know but it would be how the EU would want to work and the absence of accountability to UK ministers would have facilitated it. But in the EU both Government and Parliament are also accountable to the EU and have no authority or power on swathes of policy areas.

  13. The Prangwizard
    January 18, 2024

    In which cases would we be better off without them. Let’s know which, and let’s have a determined and demanding approach.

    Being nice about it gets nowhere.

  14. Donna
    January 18, 2024

    Yes …. let’s have a bonfire of the Quangos.

    Oh, was that a deja vu moment? Mind you, the last one didn’t go quite as we were led to believe it would: “David Cameron’s “bonfire of the quangos” has seen the abolition of 285 public bodies but 184 new organisations were created at the same time.”

    Sir John seems to be forgetting the Not-a-Conservative-Government is currently re-running the strategy of the early 1970s and will be handing over to Labour later this year.

    You’ve had 14 years … and have wrecked everything, in true Socialist fashion.

    1. IanB
      January 18, 2024

      Donna. – yes the DC promised ‘bonfire’, do you think he may have been lying?

  15. Everhopeful
    January 18, 2024

    Oh dear!
    What was all that about yesterday?
    Is “No vote recorded” an abstention? ( Very sensible I think)
    But why were others so easily bamboozled with threats of a “snap election”? They know that an election WILL come.
    When interviewed they looked truly terrified.
    Nasty business.

    Reply I voted for amendments to strengthen the bill. I abstained on the bill as unamended.

    1. Mickey Taking
      January 18, 2024

      Leaving others to decide again!

    2. Everhopeful
      January 18, 2024

      Well I know you always do the right thing.

  16. Jude
    January 18, 2024

    In other words…good old common sense & solid project management skills.

  17. glen cullen
    January 18, 2024

    Quangos are a bit like the Rwanda Bill, the logic being that its best to allow an inefficient & incomplete law through with the hope and dream that it may improve in time

  18. Linda Brown
    January 18, 2024

    I thought David Cameron was going to abolish quangos? It will never happen. Too many hangers on need jobs for the boys or girls.

    1. glen cullen
      January 18, 2024

      He couldn’t even abolish himself

      1. Mickey Taking
        January 18, 2024

        phoenix rising.

  19. Everhopeful
    January 18, 2024

    Wasn’t there supposed to be a “Bonfire of the Quangos” some years back?

  20. Dave Andrews
    January 18, 2024

    When you go down the list of quangos, it seemed to me they typically are set up to perform a needed task. For example, you really do want a public body to regulate the quality of electrical goods.
    The only quango I could identify that is superfluous is the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is a body to which politically motivated individuals gravitate towards. We don’t want the taxpayer to fund a body that engages in harassing ordinary members of the public and small business, who don’t have the means to fight back, with their left wing ideology.
    Perhaps others can suggest other quangos that can be canned. It’s all very well to wave the hand at all this red tape, but we could do with some specifics.

  21. Roy Grainger
    January 18, 2024

    Fine in theory but in practice putting ministers, and so Civil Servants, directly in charge of infrastructure projects like HS2 will result in even worse outcomes given their total lack of experience in similar real-world private sector projects. And just look at those areas ministers ARE directly responsible for – immigration for example.

  22. Narrow Shoulders
    January 18, 2024

    The Border Force is part of the Home Office. I am aware that visa issuing is outsourced but what part of immigration is dictated by a quango Sir John?

    Border Force is a law enforcement command within the Home Office. We secure the UK border by carrying out immigration and customs controls for people and goods entering the UK.

    Border Force is part of the Home Office.

  23. Sakara Gold
    January 18, 2024

    A recent review of QUANGO’s – which are responsible for spending about £265 billion a year of taxpayers’ money – has not been completed five years after it was promised, a 2021 report from the Commons Public Accounts Committeehas claimed.

    The Commons Public Accounts Committee report said that, although the Cabinet Office had promised to review every arms-length body (QUANGO) between 2016 and 2020, just one-third of the tailored reviews had been completed – and none have been published.

    It added that the makeup of these bodies remained “messy and complicated” with issues of patronage and cronyism over highly paid appointments – many of which only involve a couple of days work a month.

  24. formula57
    January 18, 2024

    Can this really be so – “Ministers tell me with these bodies they are warned off intervening and told they have independent powers”? Where does the warning off come from? The negligent, useless clowns actually confess to their dereliction of duty? What do they thiink Ministerial office is for?

    1. graham1946
      January 18, 2024

      Just shows what low grade people we have in parliament and government these days. They don’t seem to want to manage, just to make speeches and think that will do the job. Civil Service and quangos run rings around them. How we get quality with the set up we have (FPTP) and selecting people not for ability but for being able to spin a speech and climb the greasy pole, I don’t know. Seems impossible now as this sloppy style of government seems ingrained. We need a complete clear out and a new system or we will continue with the Uniparty and their results. Most of my life its been jam tomorrow and managing crises – it’s no good, it’s been tested to destruction (mostly of this nation).

    2. Clough
      January 18, 2024

      When we look at the calibre of today’s government ministers, do we really suppose that people like that could perform in the way that SJR suggests? Can we see a minister firing an underperforming agency manager? Sign off or nod through their CBE, more like.

    3. mancunius
      January 18, 2024

      formula – What do they think Ministerial office is for? They think it’s for snaffling a much larger parliamentary pay-off and pension when they’re inevitably turfed out at the GE.

  25. Ian B
    January 18, 2024

    Sir John
    Do these independent bodies require any UK Taxpayer money? Do these independent bodies create, laws, rules and regulations that affect us all?
    If the answer is yes to any of the above, then these so-called independent bodies are controlled by our government and our parliament. To suggest something such as this is ‘hands off’ is Parliament and government neglecting its duties and responsibilities to those that they steal the money from, those that empowered and pay them.
    In today’s parlance what should be our parliament and our government is nothing more than the Post Office’s big brother – all the same but worse.
    The people voted for it democracy back, parliament refuses it. Parliament has denigrated the UK to be nothing more than a third world dictatorship that is unable to garner respect from anyone.

  26. Nigl
    January 18, 2024

    Thoughtful but on the morning after a Whitehall farce hardly relevant. Anyway if you think Ministers have ability to be executive chairman you are having an attack of the vapours.

    And to sum up this government happy to allow so many foreign elements in that they can stifle London about something happening in the Middle East plus, heaven knows, how many potential terrorists, our two aircraft carriers are stuck in Portsmouth because of lack of support, leaving our shipping to be protected, mainly, by the Americans.

    How Sunak and co can brazenly think they are doing, even a half decent job and should keep.power is beyond me.

    Not a sophisticated political comment but sums up my anger. ‘Utter ‘effin rubbish’

    1. Bill B.
      January 19, 2024

      Our shipping? Do we still have any shipping?

      1. Mitchel
        January 19, 2024

        More importantly,the ports have all gone.

  27. Ian B
    January 18, 2024

    Sir John
    The Country is taxes us and borrowing like mad to stay afloat. What does the Establishment do? It gets the Taxpayer to pay for expensive ‘jollies’ to Davos.
    May dictating to the World about Slavery, Reeves and her junior Hunt saying all UKs woes are the fault of Truss. No mention that the UK tax and costs increases by this Conservative Government, are at the root of our inflation aided by an incompetent BoE.
    Davos has nothing to do with managing the UK, it does nothing and has no place in the UK let alone the World. So why is the Taxpayer forced to pay for these trips, why are those we employ taking valuable paid time from their post?

  28. Original Richard
    January 18, 2024

    The purpose of quangos, regulators, “Off”s and a whole host of institutions and NGOs, including the judiciary and unrepresentative and unelected civil service and HoL, is because it enables fifth column communist and WEF feudalist MPs to pretend to be looking after the interests of their voters whilst secretly pursuing destructive policies such as Net Zero, diversity replacing meritocracy and mass immigration.

    I’m now reading that these 2 fifth column groups are calling elections “a threat to democracy”.

    1. Original Richard
      January 18, 2024

      PS :

      PS :

      As evidenced by the Government themselves funding the lawyers and organisations which take the Government to court for not complying with the CCC’s climate budgets and those who take the Government to court to thwart the Rwanda illegal migrant scheme.

    2. Donna
      January 19, 2024

      That’s OK. Klaus Schwab and the WEF have a solution to that ….. AI will “presume” the result of an election, to avoid those pesky people who don’t always do as they’re told from actually voting.

  29. Bloke
    January 18, 2024

    Appointing capable ministers instead of useless idiots would solve the problem in one go.

    1. Mickey Taking
      January 18, 2024

      but CCHQ put up lots of useful idiots. Pick from that lot?

      1. Bloke
        January 19, 2024

        No thanks Mr Taking. I’m supporting and donating to the Reform Party.
        Some of their sensible candidates gaining seats should tug the Conservatives into epiphany.

        1. Mickey Taking
          January 19, 2024

          it ain’t gonna happen, most are beyond having epiphany.

  30. BW
    January 18, 2024

    Isn’t the Government just another Quango. Let’s face it, it is nowhere near what was voted in. Producing a tissue of untruths in a manifesto. Ousting the elected leader twice., installing a twice rejected leader. Failing in all its promises. Look at the vote last night. Party before country. Voting for a bill that is not worth the paper it is written on. Especially when the all powerful ECHR with their lawyers get hold of it. It’s not as if it hasn’t happened before.
    This Quango has presided in the importation of every enemy Britain has from all over the world just waiting for their moment. Wasn’t it the governments responsibility to defend the people of the country and keep us safe. Yet another failure.

  31. miami.mode
    January 18, 2024

    Almost 20 years ago the FSA, precursor to the FCA, worked brilliantly for me and I realised at the time that this particular regulator worked well for the individual but had no real conception of how businesses worked, as was evidenced by the financial crash when it transpired that insurance specialists were regulating Northern Rock.

    The same seems to be true for other regulators such as Ofgem who failed miserably over regulating the many start-ups as they seemed bereft of the knowledge of how the businesses worked financially.

    The rather derogatory saying “those who can do those who can’t teach” is sometimes true.

  32. Ukretired123
    January 18, 2024

    Let’s be honest and recognise the establishment is comprised of a mixed bag of competent and incompetent people who have power and influence , earned or inherited and many hangers on who are good at networking and good at stepping stone careers like slick salesmen and women.
    They avoid taking responsibility or blame and leave others to carry the can and ensure their own contracts are Teflon coated like their polished credentials.
    Brexit was a watershed moment where ” the natives revolted ” and set off panic against this slide into no responsibility and no accountability by governments and the establishment with all its quangos.

  33. a-tracy
    January 18, 2024

    Honestly, I always thought the Post Office counters were always well run. Local counter staff were always friendly and efficient and still are, in a family shop open all hours, 7 days per week. What we have discovered is the utter failure at the top levels, and who interviews and selects these Head Office senior level people? That’s what I’d like to know.

  34. hefner
    January 18, 2024

    O/T: the latest of Lord Ashcroft’s polls has appeared this morning (18/01/2024). It is accessible by looking for ‘Change course or stick to the plan? My first poll of 2024’ on lordashcroftpolls.com

    It is based on 5,149 adults and looks at a large number of questions. As said by Lord Ashcroft himself ‘Rather dismal, from a Tory point of view’.

  35. abc
    January 18, 2024

    In the Julia Roberts/Obama production film on Netflix.
    The only sentence that jumped out at me was
    “There IS no one in charge.”

  36. Bert+Young
    January 18, 2024

    Having the Government directly involved in the running of quangos would depend on the quality and capability of the Minister nominated to manage and supervise; as things stand this would be an enormous mistake due to what I believe to be the lack of talent that exists in the Front Bench . Having the right person in charge of these bodies is absolutely essential but where are they ? .

  37. Atlas
    January 18, 2024

    While the “One Nation” faction holds sway then nothing will change. Their idea of heaven is to have others decide our fate, whilst they still collect their MPs salary.

  38. a-tracy
    January 18, 2024

    If we have to subsidise the railways, why don’t we get something back for it? Digital rail amounts for tickets off-peak to fill up under-performing trains, so that people actually think they are getting something back for the subsidy? It’s easy to identify which trains and routes are paying their own way profitably and those trains that we have to put on but subsidise should be fully utilised not just by railway workers and their families on freebies.

  39. a-tracy
    January 18, 2024

    John, did you catch the thread on Milei’s speech at Davos? @Milei_Explains on X.

    1. Everhopeful
      January 18, 2024

      Very good.
      Capitalists are heroes and
      “The state is not the solution, the state is the problem. Long live freedom, dammit

  40. Ian B
    January 18, 2024

    In Davos
    Argentina’s firebrand President Javier Milei, has warned that the West risks condemning itself to socialism and abject poverty.
    As if those of us in the UK hadn’t realised! – but then isn’t that what Davos, its World Economic Forum (WEF) is all about. Bringing democracy to its knees, causing cause and facilitating the ‘great reset’
    As disciples of this Socialist doctrine and diktats isn’t that exactly what this Sunak/Hunt Conservative Government and its fellow travellers in parliament have planned for us – the UK.
    How do we get democracy, parliamentary representation when so many hangers on, wannabees fight the process daily. Its as if we have to be the victims in another Mr Bates vs … – this time a corrupt parliament and an utterly corrupt House of Lords.
    They are all as with the CEO of the Post Office fighting us with our own money which they have stolen from us under false pretenses.

    1. Ian B
      January 18, 2024

      Mr Milei “vowed to keep slashing the size of the state as he battles to fix an economic crisis”. It would be interesting to see it happen, we were promised similar 14 years ago and many times since. But all that has happened in the UK is that we were lied to and in every-way possible the complete opposite particularly in the last couple of years has been ramped up.
      The last generation of UK PM’s and a lot of those that ‘freeload’ in what is called a Parliament have lost all concept of integrity

      1. Ian B
        January 18, 2024

        He said: “Today, I’m here to tell you that the Western world is in danger.

        “And it is in danger because those who are supposed to have to defend the values of the West are co-opted by a vision of the world that inexorably leads to socialism, and thereby to poverty.”

        If and only if he does just a modicum of what he states maybe should invite him to be the next UK PM – as we no-longer have credibility in how ours are chosen

        “those who are supposed to have to defend the value” is any one in our democracy, our legislators , hearing that, know what that means

  41. Keith from Leeds
    January 18, 2024

    In effect, Sir John, you are saying we have spineless, incompetent Ministers. I have been part of a CPF group for over 12 years but have now given up, because I feel we are not listened to. We have been saying since 2012 the Government needs to sort out schools and universities which they have allowed to become a hotbed of left-wing ideas, but nothing has been done. That is just one example of many.
    I have never known a government before which goes out of its way to upset its natural supporters, Happily pushes Net Zero with no proper analysis of the costs, and does not even make sure we will have enough power to cope! Another question, why are illegal immigrants funded by legal aid? Stop that and you will stop a lot of the nonsense appeals. Is there no one in Government with a brain?

  42. Ralph Corderoy
    January 18, 2024

    A government department shadows the quango’s layers of management with pen-pushers of their own. Axing the quango would stimulate the in-house management with responsibility instead of monitoring and reporting. The buckhorn-handled knife would once more stop with Sir Humphrey.

  43. Lynn Atkinson
    January 18, 2024

    I have just received a call ‘to talk about my ‘British Gas account’; I have had a problem which I resolved yesterday. I discussed this problem and the response was ‘but you are out of contract’. I am not. Transpired I was speaking to a sales organization hoping yo sell me a new contract, and not to British Gas at all.
    This sort of confusion is a daily occurrence because Parliament fails to legislate reasonably, so when they ‘set the market free’ they allow personation! They just can’t get it right. They no longer know what a Parliament is.
    We need a very serious clear out. Atm ALL quangos but be dissolved. We trust none of them.
    Wait until we get phone and video calls from AI personating anyone and anything, including ourselves. Wait until Courts have to disregard all evidence because it can and will be falsely generated. Scamming is going to be the most successful of all crimes.
    We need to smash the machines, smash the broken system but hang onto ‘democracy’ (with 1 House as many countries already have), hang into and reinstate our Constitution.

  44. Ian B
    January 18, 2024

    This is what we hear from what some in Government would call a tin-pot leader
    “Abolishing the country’s central bank”.
    “shrink the public sector workforce by a third, cancel public sector infrastructure projects and slash the number of government ministries in half to nine were radical, another senior source said: -It’s nothing radical.”
    “We are trying to do the common-sense thing. You can’t spend more than you earn, and you cannot have privileges when people are poor.”

    Did Hunt hear this while he was wandering around the same campus preening himself among his Socialist friends.?

    1. Ian B
      January 18, 2024

      Comments section, in order of appearance. Unable to fully credit as copying is declined by the DT
      I thought he was supposed to be a basket case?
      Love him!
      democacy leads to socialism. He pointed out feminism leads to socialism also. It would be political suicide if any western leaders said something similar
      Good on him – bring the chainsaw to the U.K.
      How refreshing.
      Well done. He also flew commercial apparently
      Davos – the con socialists happy place
      He’s a good man!
      Yay! Someone sensible in power, finally! Hopefully the implementation works and he can be a shining beacon to others in the world.
      Just listened to his full speech………….very impressive I have to say. While wishing him well, I fear he will have a very difficult job ahead of him.

      1. wxyz
        January 18, 2024

        If you look beyond the msm and youtube a different picture of him is touted.
        His contacts, affiliations etc.
        Quite the opposite of the Telegraph’s slant.
        Which is right who knows
        but you have to view everything from all angles.

  45. JayCee
    January 18, 2024

    It would be a start if the Chair and Non-executives were obliged to resign at the end of the term of a Government. The incoming government has the opportunity to appoint like-minded leaders. A better use of SPADs and a career path for the politically motivated.

  46. DEF
    January 18, 2024

    Samantha could just about be Emma .

  47. Ian B
    January 18, 2024

    Mor Davos
    Ms Reeves vowed to ensure “success is celebrated” under a Labour government as she outlined ambitions to ease the burden of Rishi Sunak’s multi-year stealth tax raid on workers.

    Speaking to The Telegraph at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, she said that lowering taxes on “working people” remains a priority, including those paying the highest 45p rate.”

    Ms Reeves said that freezing income tax thresholds in the face of rising inflation “has affected people paying the top rate of tax and the basic rate of tax, and both of those groups of people are working hard, but getting less every month in their pay packets.” – Sunak/Hunt say doing this was necessary as it increase this, it brings in double NI hand back.

  48. Aaron
    January 18, 2024

    Sir John. Please can you advise how I can warn off HMRC from intervening and demanding I pay my tax, as I too am also independent.
    If these quangos have the ability to deny government oversight, I want the same for my limited company.

    Please let me know how these quangos are justifying their position, and who the minister in charge of HMRC is, and I’ll write the letter directly.

    Otherwise, it seems the minister needs to grow a backbone in their remaining time in office, and provide accountability and oversight of the quangos they have delegated responsibility to.

    As most companies know (or rapidly learn!), you can outsource responsibility for delivery, but you cannot outsource accountability.

  49. TonyP
    January 18, 2024

    We have been promised a ‘bonfire of Quangos’ on more than one occasion.
    Why has nothing been done?

  50. def
    January 18, 2024

    If there’s one place there should be cameras it’s in care homes for the vulnerable,
    young and old. Especially after the night shift.
    One person to view footage in the a.m wouldn’t cost much.
    One very minor example I witnessed was a poor old Grannie slumbering then two “carers” whipping her sheets and blankets off super fast as she slept.
    Another Manager who didnt stop roaming as
    “if they break their leg they’re no future trouble, bed bound.
    As to the male Manager of a learning disability place who taught one to one sessions with the poor sods on what HE thought they should know. ( Guess )
    If the head nodding. rolex wearing MP thickoes main concern was helping the vulnerable instead of making money
    perhaps their souls would be more at peace .
    Many are controlled because of past indiscretions.
    Those should disappear into a troubled retirement
    salivating over their stocks and shares
    or face the music.
    I’m no puritan.
    I, like most of the population have a threshold for slime.
    The cons won’t lose because of economic policies /small boats
    Labour will have those probs too.
    They will lose because of the personal slime factor.

  51. glen cullen
    January 18, 2024

    Green Industry = 3,000 Tata Steel jobs lost …..the future isn’t net-zero

    1. glen cullen
      January 18, 2024

      I wish that there was a quango to ensure that the UK can continue to produce primary steel ….due to this government policies on ‘net-zero’ our steel manufacturers are converting to arc-Furness recycled steel ….we’ll no longer to be able to make UK tanks, warships or trains without steel imports (probably from China)

      1. Mickey Taking
        January 19, 2024

        yep – we’ll have to take poor quality steel (from China?) melt it and reprocess to a higher quality.

        1. glen cullen
          January 19, 2024

          and make british army tanks with it

  52. a-tracy
    January 18, 2024

    “HS2 has over building a railway to time and budget.”

    I don’t understand that when a public sector contract comes up for tender, competitors have to submit their quotation, their mode of work, their maximum contingency, etc.
    How can all these contracts go massively over budget, (and those to rebuild local shopping centres or affordable homes), but the government/council is expected to pay up, and the contractor does not take the loss on the chin of their understated quote? How is that fair to the more honest contractor who gives the realistic quote in the first place and would have probably finished off the work on time?

  53. forthurst
    January 18, 2024

    The Tory Party has signed a mutual assistance treaty with the Kiev regime under which the Tory Party agrees to guarantee the borders of the original Bolshevik State plus Crimea through the use of military force irrespective of the declared wishes of those who live in the South and East and Crimea and to assist the Kiev regime in their continuing attacks on civilian targets which commenced in 2014. For its part Ukraine will come to the assistance of the UK should the Tory Party’s continuous meddling and warmongering in other peoples countries provoke a military response.

  54. mancunius
    January 18, 2024

    “Take the work back into the department and supervise it directly.”

    Quango members are appointed basically by (i.e. on the insistent advice of) the Departmental Permanent Secretary, i.e they are handpicked from Sir Humphrey’s Rolodex of Mates and Backscratchers. If you abolish the quangos, and bring the work in-house, the Permanent Secretary will demand more ‘resources’ and will hire the now unemployed quango members to work to the Department in an advisory capacity based on their (so-called) specialized experience. He will make sure that costs much, much more than the quango did. ‘Oh but Minister, getting the right people does not come cheap, you know. If only you had retained the quango…’
    The advisors he brings in (even if they are new faces) will all reflect his own institutionally Blairite and woke thinking.
    By all means abolish the quangos – but for it to make any difference, you need to abolish the post of Permanent Secretary. Like every other industry, the Civil Service should not be a resting place for permanent employees.

  55. Ian B
    January 18, 2024

    More from Davos
    This is one of those days that real people, logical people are speaking out. The CEO of Currys Alex Baldock, highlights that this phony Conservative Government, Jeramy Hunt in particular are causing the decline of the British high street. This Conservative Government have all-round put-up costs to everyone, which he calls it ill-judged. He goes on to say Conservative Government policy will send prices up again.
    Sunak/Hunt duo are the real drives of the UKs inflation
    The retail sectors bills will rise £309 million in April
    Last month, Marks & Spencer chief executive Stuart Machin said politicians neither “understand nor value” how important retailers are to the economy.
    This Conservative Government is refusing to manage, is refusing to manage its expenditure, it is refusing to manage its costs. Instead, it is desperate for more tax, more borrowing so it can squander more, so it can keep driving the State Empire to grow.
    The bit they Sunak/Hunt miss is that to have expenditure you first have to create the wealth to fund it, not the other way around. Spending money like it is going out of fashion, refusing expenditure to produce a result then think the holy grail get out of jail to tax more is the answer is lunacy

  56. iain gill
    January 18, 2024

    Its not just the Quangos themselves, its the way the big outsourcers and consultancies have been trained to act by the way the public sector engages with them, and hires them.

    Lets be honest a good 40% of Serco workers are just overhead, same with Capita, same with the big IT outsourcers on public sector accounts, yet they are all being funded by the public sector. Competition is minimal really, its just shuffling deckchairs.

    And the public sector has little real skill in structuring big programmes, tendering them, knowing what good looks like, monitoring KPI’s, etc. Often the public sector is man matching the people doing the actual work, thats one public sector per person actually delivering just there to monitor. So much hype and BS and so little actual pragmatic skills.

    It’s all a but shambolic.

    So much would be better if the taxpayers were taxed less, the public sector didnt attempt to do things (and do them badly), and leave taxpayers to buy the goods and services themselves from the free market.

    1. Ukretired123
      January 18, 2024

      Iain – So true it makes you weep. I have experienced this “Shadowing and duplication of Private sector supplied work” by Public Sector managers and employees who don’t know how to solve problems the yet blatantly copy your work and also take the credit for it.
      Some interview you just to pick your brains of how to solve problems then go off and try to do it themselves ineffectively and inefficiently knowing they are not under any cost or time pressure and no one is any the wiser.
      A colleague once discovered his long expensive report to senior management was being copied word for word into another system by a Deputy manager’s P/A for other senior management….
      They pick the brains of the Private Sector and then treat it with contempt, time and time again. As an SME you cannot compete with large consultants who have deep pockets and lobby the government and establishment (i.e. Who are you….etc. Nobody, no one in their eyes).

  57. glen cullen
    January 18, 2024

    Quango abolition – I’d say Lords abolition
    The lords climate change debate today ….everyone of them all agreed with the governments net-zero policies but suggested that we should go further and lead the world …”at any cost”

    1. glen cullen
      January 18, 2024

      They’re glad that under the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) programme we’re sending millions to vietnam ….didn’t see that in the manifesto

  58. Cestrian
    January 24, 2024

    Agreed Johnny, but, your lot have had NINE clear years and FIFTEEN in total to put right these ‘wrongs’ of governance!

    Just a thought… should there even be any such thing as a quango? – they all do the work of government so why try to pretend otherwise?… bring their work back ‘in house’.

    The relevant government minister has to take the flack for these outfits anyway – so it is not like the ‘arms length relationship’ gives them any real cover!… but it does make for much ‘buck passing’, frustration on all sides and ineffectiveness all round!

    Of course, devolution and all that does make things even more confusing – so all those remaining ministerial bodies should be prefixed by their area of geographic responsibility… UK, England, Scotland, Wales, NI – if only for clarity.

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