“This is great improvement on the information Cabinet Office has provided before on quangos – it’s much more useful, transparent and useable than previous lists and it’s good to see figures on appointments as well. But this only focuses on NDPBs and misses out other categories eg non-ministerial departments and public corporations which perform similar roles; this underlines the need for a more coherent and comprehensive approach to arm’s length bodies based on more useful classifications, as we recommended in our report ‘Read Before Burning’. It is good that today’s report acknowledges the upfront costs of change as well as savings counted so far. It will be vital government ensures follow through to make sure existing savings are maintained and future savings are realised. Getting rid of defunct bodies, which the report draws attention to, is a useful way of ‘decluttering’ – but this does not have significant implications for spending so the government needs to look beyond a simple numbers game.
“It’s good to see also that the quango landscape is kept under review and the government is right to stress the problems that arose from not doing so. Where the decision is that a NDPB should be maintained, the government is also looking at its relationship with the sponsoring department - other forms of quango should also be subject to regular review. As we stressed in our report ‘It Takes Two’, it is vital departments can work collaboratively with quangos of all types; with reductions in civil service and public sector manpower, productive relationships can maximise value for the taxpayer.”