Political Promise

Adding fuel to the quango bonfire

In David Brownsey-Joyce on September 28, 2010 at 9:00 am

The news that 180 quangos were being fed to the flames whilst another 124 faced mergers and another 100 were still under review brought David Brownsey-Joyce up short this week.

When the Daily Telegraph reported that 177 quangos were facing being fed to the flames of austerity cuts I thought it was bad enough but when the BBC released a document it’s Politics Show obtained detailing the level of changes quangos were facing I was taken aback.

Details of the list provide an outline of where the Coalition Government is looking to wield the axe and they have quangos firmly in their sights. All departments are going to feel the changes if the list obtained is even remotely what we can expect at the end of the review process.

180 quangos face being abolished; those that work with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs takes the biggest hit with 53 being abolished, nearly a third of all those being cut.

So much for the green credentials of this government, they have clearly made up their minds that they do not need the advice of experts on fields such as organic food standards; so we can look forward to a number of protests against organic food as no one gets a clear message out, oh and don’t worry about pesticides we don’t care about them anymore either.

Air quality; that’s ok we can all choke on fumes and look back to the good old days when we could look up and see sky rather than smog.

Waterways; what’s a waterway without a glistening layer of dead fish on top of it due to pollution.

Sustainable development; well we are doing our best to destroy the world so who cares.

Ethical farming; we are facing a food crisis so why not go back to mass battery farms and to hell with Hugh Fernley Wittingstall and Jamie Oliver.

Rural communities; in the middle of nowhere, out of sight out of mind.

124 quangos face being merged; those that work with the Ministry of Justice are worst affected with 103 merging into 50 quangos and add the 26 that are just being abolished.

Wow that’s just insane, tough on crime and just as tough on those that research and advise on it as well it would seem, at least at first glance but the numbers do tell a different story 101 Advisory Committees on Justices of the Peace will be merged into a more manageable number of 50.

On top of this single big series of merges is the Crown Prosecution Service with Revenue and Customs Prosecution Service; last time I checked HMRC were so overworked they were looking at letting off a load of us over underpaid taxes, hooray, but I am sure that the general public does not want the Crown Prosecution Service pitching in to help the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Service with their workload. Not to mention that surely these two branches require different types of specialists, some who know criminal law and some who know corporate and tax laws; I’m not saying that these can’t be mixed but surely we don’t expect these two, no sorry, one quango to be staffed by superhuman staff who know every bit of case law known to man.

100 quangos are still under review and could face either be cast to the flames or having themselves merged unhappily with another, but that’s not the end of it. There are 56 quangos that whilst being retained are subject to substantial reform, 49 of these are with the Ministry of Justice, which just seems to be getting the worst of this whole deal.

Of the 49, 35 are Probation Trusts and these are earmarked for review under the Rehabilitation Green Paper; so either the Government has decided how it wants to change the Probation Trusts and is now putting together a green paper to outline and justify those changes, or they don’t know how but they do know that they need to change the way these work.

Others quangos of note that are being kept on but are earmarked for substantial change include:

  • Royal Mail Holdings PLC, going to see substantial reforms and looking forward to the part privatisation so we can have an even worse service.
  • Plant Varieties and Seeds Tribuanials, transferred to the Ministry of Justice, because they are such a bunch of tree huggers over there.
  • Ofsted, going to see substantial reforms, I wonder whether that means they are going to just wipe it out and start again.
  • Food Standards Agency, going to see substantial reforms, because we cannot continue out relentless pursuit of obesity without them telling us exactly which foods to target in our daily gorge.

All in all it adds up to one thing, job losses and lots of them. We can only hope that people do not jump ship before the organisations are permanently abolished as Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, Paymaster General, has requested that all those that are abolished or merged do not appoint personnel unless they are business critical and even then they need to consult with his department and the Propriety and Ethics Team in the Cabinet Office.

Better get use to sore knees if you need new staff.

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  1. […] David Brownsey-Joyce used a lot of metaphors about “fires” and “fuel” describing the cutting of the quangos. […]

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