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Bye bye quangos!

74 replies

longfingernails · 14/10/2010 08:55

Another excellent day for the coalition.

Hundreds of quangos scrapped, downsized, privatised or merged. I'm sure we'll hear the squealing of the vested interests on the news channels all day!

The great thing is that every time a fat cat Communications Officer or Diversity Co-ordinator for the National Paperclip Bendiness Regulation Service squawks, the sense of revulsion amongst the public for Labour's wasteful and destructive expansion of the nanny state will increase.

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BaggedandTagged · 15/10/2010 06:52

No - he was actually opposed it but was overruled by Thatcher and the cabinet. It was one of the major disagreements that led to his resignation as C of Ex

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longfingernails · 15/10/2010 07:06

I wonder if Red Ed agrees with the decision to scrap the Union Modernisation Fund?

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nooka · 15/10/2010 07:12

They will all be recreated plus more. All governments say that they will cut quangos. sometimes they do, but at the end of their term there are usually more than the beginning.

All that happens is that the people who work there go through hell, huge costs are incurred and the work that was being done stops being done (often for several years) whilst the musical chairs go on.

Governments (of all colours) don't like experts telling them what to do, but they do like to be that little bit hands off in order to be able to wash their hands when things go wrong, and also to give the appearance of doing things by commanding restructures etc.

Many of the names on that list I have no idea what they do, but that's not a good rationale for deciding they are useless. Some decisions may cost more or have more conflict of interest issues. For example the Audit Commission hasn't always had the best press, but the plan seems to be to contract (presumably with the big four audit companies) which may well cost more and given that the MO of consultants is to create work with every engagement not necessarily a good idea (plus do people really think that spending more money on management consultants is a good idea?). I note that very few on the list are being abolished, most are being merged or the functions just moved to somewhere else, implying that the work needs to be done it's just the title of the body that matters.

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Igglybuff · 15/10/2010 07:16

Can someone explain why people are so "anti - quango"? As far as I understand, they are arms length organisations which are accountable to Parliament, but political independent to stop ministers sticking their oars in.

And if anyone thinks that scrapping quangos is going to save money, well god help you.

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BikeRunSki · 15/10/2010 07:34

JCee, sounds like you might work for my Quango, certainly something similar.

Not all quangos are the same. The work we do would certainly be missed if no one did it, and I work in a highly specialised department who are all very well qualified (PhD, MSc, Fellowship of professional bodies the norm). I can't believe that scrapping us would actually save anything, particularlry in the light of recent legislation.

Unfortunately now will will not be able to call on another Quango for advice on buying wine Wink.

Every list of Quango status I have seen recently has us as "To be decided". It is very unsettling as DH is on notice of redundancy too.

To all my fellow Quango-ers and Local Authority workers - fingers crossed and let's see what next Wednesday brings.

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hubblybubblytoilntrouble · 15/10/2010 10:39

Oh yes, totally brilliant news that they're fucking over CEOP Hmm

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LadyBlaBlah · 15/10/2010 10:50

The way they are running this country is like something from an example in "leadership for dummies" - the one where the moral of the story is not to just barge in and sack everyone before you have worked out what they do.


The lack of due diligence in the government across the board is staggering. Every policy they announce is just amateur and demonstrates their total lack of experience and leadership skills.

They should remember the phrases 'standing on the shoulders of giants' and 'reinventing the wheel'

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NomDePlume · 15/10/2010 10:51

Hurrah for more unemployment Hmm

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BeenBeta · 15/10/2010 11:15

Igglybuff - John kay wrote a really fair and balanced piece about scrapping quangos in the FT a few days ago. It is behind a pay wall on the FT but he posted a version of it on his website How to spot a good from a bad quango.

This part explains why people dont like quangos and also what a good quango looks like.

"Dislike of quangos partly reflects dislike of the people who are often found in them. There is a modern class of quangocrats, recognisable by the acronymic language in which they speak and the string of public appointments they have held. Some such individuals lack the personality or stamina to stand for elective office or the desire or drive to engage in productive activity, and they glide effortlessly from committee to committee. Successful quangos, by contrast, are those that give real authority to people with specialist skills: judges, monetary economists, broadcasters, programme makers and medical professionals.

Good quangos have specific technical expertise and their purpose is to take issues out of politics. Bad quangos have no distinctive skills and are designed to put issues into politics. In next week?s spending review it should not be too hard to tell the difference."

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SpookyLettuce · 15/10/2010 11:39

I wish everyone well - some of the quangos I have dealt with personally are really good and would be hard to replace. Luckily those have been saved from the axe. I wish the coalition would put forward a coherent plan as to how they are going to help create these jobs in the private sector that can take those that will be losing their jobs. It is such a waste of talent, not to mention a complete nightmare for those affected.

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Igglybuff · 15/10/2010 11:57

Thank you BeenBeta, I'll give that piece a read.

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lenak · 15/10/2010 12:11

While I would agree that some Quangos are unecessary, there are also some very poor decisions being made in an attempt to generate headlines and be seen to be doing something:

CEOP - and excellent organisation doing fabntastic work. Even the possibility that one child may come to harm due to a lack of focus when this is merged should be an arguement for keeping it.

Conusmer Focus / Citizens Advice - again, two fantastic organisations that do excellent work for very little money which are being merged and having their budgets cut. CF, I believe has an annual budget of around £5 million yet recently won back refunds totalling £70 million for the consumer. Merging it with CAB which is already underfunded is a terrible idea and will result in far fewer people getting the help they need while taking away a useful weapon in the consumer war against big business (but then it is a Tory government so I guess that isn't really a surprise).

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lissieloucifer · 15/10/2010 12:12
Biscuit
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theboobmeister · 15/10/2010 12:40

I think the OP's ideological fervour is misplaced. According to the document,

  • nearly half the quangos will stay as they are, mostly "on grounds of performing a function which requires impartiality", "on grounds of performing a technical function which should remain independent of Government", or "on the grounds of transparency". The coalition well knows that many functions work best when at arms-length from government.


  • only about a quarter will be abolished, and most of those are having their functions transferred elsewhere


  • about one-sixth will be merged or otherwise restructured


  • about one-tenth are still under consideration.


By my reckoning, under 10% of quangos will definitively disappear along with all their functions. So this is hardly an ideological bonfire, although I can see why some would want to portray it that way since it's red meat to Tory boys and girls like the OP.
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longfingernails · 15/10/2010 13:04

theboobmeister The reason for my "ideological fervour" is partly because so many of the quangos are blatantly full of Labour apparatchiks, instead of being genuinely independent.

As the shadow state is squeezed, the infestation of Labour entryists in the shadow state will slowly but surely be reversed.

The union modernisation fund is the most obvious example - and every Tory will obviously cheer its demise. I can't wait to see Red Ed asked what he thinks about it.

However, the really pernicious Labour placeholders are in jobs like the Electoral Commission, Charity Commission, Equalities and Human Rights Commission, etc. They are the ones which need real reform.

Labour shamelessly stuffed big-spending big-state equalities-obsessed mediocrities into quango management. Quangos should be abolished wherever possible - but where not possible, the coalition should be just as ruthless as Labour in getting Labour people out and "their" people in - people who believe in free markets, in liberty, in individual responsibility, in decentralisation, etc.

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theboobmeister · 15/10/2010 13:31

Well guess you must be disappointed by the coalition longfingernails - cos they are not proposing to abolish any of your pet hates.
Too bad Smile

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BeenBeta · 15/10/2010 13:36

"Labour shamelessly stuffed big-spending big-state equalities-obsessed mediocrities into quango management. Quangos should be abolished wherever possible - but where not possible, the coalition should be just as ruthless as Labour in getting Labour people out and "their" people in - people who believe in free markets, in liberty, in individual responsibility, in decentralisation, etc."

Agree with that. I said before the election that the real opposition would sit in local authorities, aacademia, the wider public sector, quangos, charity sectors and unionised industries blocking and obfuscating every Coalition initiative to cut public spending.

This is exactly what is happening. Look who is sitting at the top of those organisation. In many (not all) cases they were political appointments with close links to the Labour administration. Many appointments happened in the dying days of the last Govt.

The Coalition need to get nakedly political in cutting out that hidden opposition otherwise their initiatives will fail. The simplest legal way is mass redundancy among the top 20% of the public sector pay bracket.

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theboobmeister · 15/10/2010 13:48

Well I don't see the coalition getting "nakedly political" I'm afraid. Not least because it is a coalition of two parties which don't like each other very much.

We need workable and broadly-accepted solutions to the deficit, not politically-motivated aggravation which pointlessly pisses people off. I hate the Tories but even I don't think they're that stupid.

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longfingernails · 15/10/2010 14:03

BeenBeta You are right to single out charities as one of the obstacles to reform.

The government gives money to charities like Oxfam, who then use it not for emergency aid after natural disasters, but instead to wine and dine that same government for left-wing policies like the ridiculous "Robin Hood tax".

Actually, many charities aren't charities at all - they are just lobbying groups, invariably for left-wing causes. All public cash to those should be stopped immediately.

If the Big Society is to become genuine, it needs real charities, not taxpayer-funded extensions of the Labour party.

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LadyBlaBlah · 15/10/2010 14:26

"charities invariably for left wing causes" - do you mean like helping the poor?

How very dare they?

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narmada · 15/10/2010 14:34

longfingernails in what capacity do you work for the current administration?

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longfingernails · 15/10/2010 15:01

narmada In the role of enthusiastic supporter!

I am thinking about joining the Tory party though.

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narmada · 15/10/2010 15:11

Get away with it, longfingernails, you either already work for them or are a journo pumping mumsnet users for ready quotes, surey!?

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narmada · 15/10/2010 15:15

surely, I meant.

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longfingernails · 15/10/2010 15:26

Sorry to disappoint - you will find plenty of criticism of the coalition from me on the Politics board.

For example, I don't like the proposed redistributive element to interest rates for student loans. Or the fact that Parliament meekly rubberstamped the EU budget resolution. Or the obvious anomalies in the Child Benefit changes - it was tactically weak, though that has been a massive strategic win for the coalition. Or the ringfencing of the NHS from spending cuts.

Broadly, though, I am very very happy with the direction of the government.

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