Government quango cuts: who survived?

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has survived the Government’s quango cuts but many others have been axed or are still under review.

Cabinet minister Francis Maude announced that 192 non-departmental government bodies will be abolished, 118 will be merged and a further 171 are to be substantially reformed.

Some organisations are still under consideration, such as the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES). The body, which advises employers, individuals and the Government on employment and skills systems, will be reviewed by the end of the year on its core functions and “the most appropriate organisational model to deliver a simplified skills landscape across the UK”.

Chris Humphries, chief executive of UKCES commented: “The position of the UK Commission is currently under consideration by government …  our work around simplifying, streamlining and integrating the UK’s employment and skills systems is directly relevant to this, and we plan to enhance this going forward.”

Maude said in a statement to the Commons that it is unlikely remaining quangos will stay completely unchanged. They will not be allowed to go back to the “old way of working”.

“We recognise that some of these bodies do hugely important and essential work that has to be done at arm’s length from Government, especially when political impartiality, independence or technical expertise is required,” he added.

Duties of some of the abolished organisations will instead be handled by other departments. The Disability Employment Advisory Committee, which is set to be axed, will transfer its advice services on disability employment to Equality 2025, an advisory group of disabled people.

Among those in line to be merged are the Pensions Ombudsman and the Pension Protection Fund Ombudsman, which will become a single non-departmental public body.

A Public Bodies Bill will be introduced at a later date to enable the mass changes to quangos to be implemented.

For a full list of the plans for employment-related quangos, see the table below.

Employment-related public bodies – Government proposals
Govt. dept. Public body Proposed reforms
BIS UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) Under consideration – complete review by end of year of core functions and the most appropriate organisational model to deliver a simplified skills landscape across the UK
BIS Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) Retain – retain on grounds of performing a function that requires impartiality
BIS Film Industry Training Board Under consideration – complete consideration by November 2010 of transferring body and functions to private sector status
BIS Higher Education Funding Council for England Retain – retain on grounds of performing a function that requires impartiality
BIS Low Pay Commission Retain – retain on grounds of performing a function that requires impartiality

BIS

Office of Manpower Economics Retain – retain on grounds of performing a function that requires impartiality
CO Senior Salaries Review Body Retain – retain on the grounds of impartiality
Defra Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales No longer an NDPB – abolish and bring agricultural workers under national minimum wage legislation, as previously announced
Defra Agricultural Wages Committees (x15) No longer an NDPB – abolish bodies and functions, as previously announced
Defra Gangmasters Licensing Authority Retain – retain on grounds of impartiality
DfE Children’s Workforce Development Council Under consideration – options being considered with an announcement to be made before the end of 2010
DfE General Teaching Council for England No longer an NDPB – abolish body as part of the Government’s wider plans to streamline and improve arrangements for tackling underperforming teachers, as previously announced
DfE National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services Under consideration – options being considered with an announcement to be made before the end of 2010
DfE School Support Staff Negotiating Body Under consideration – subject to further discussions with employer and union representatives
DfE School Teachers’ Review Body Retain – retain on grounds of performing a function that requires political impartiality
DfE Training and Development Agency for Schools Under consideration – options being considered with an announcement to be made before the end of 2010
DfE Young People’s Learning Agency Under consideration – subject to education structural reforms
DH Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence No longer an NDPB – abolish as an NDPB and make a self-funding body, as previously announced
DH General Social Care Council No longer an NDPB – abolish and transfer functions to health professions council, as previously announced
DH NHS Pay Review Body Retain – retain on the grounds of impartiality
DH Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration Retain – retain on the grounds of impartiality
MoJ Information Commissioner’s Office Retain – retain on grounds of performing a function that requires impartiality
MoJ Prison Service Pay Review Body Retain – retain on grounds of performing a function that requires impartiality
HO National Policing Improvement Agency No longer an NDPB – currently considering which functions must be delivered nationally and where they should sit in a rationalised national policing landscape, as previously announced
HO Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner Under consideration – future options, including possible merger, under consideration
GEO Equality and Human Rights Commission Retain and substantially reform – retain, with better focus on its core regulatory functions and improved use of taxpayers’ money
GEO Women’s National Commission No longer an NDPB – abolish body and bring core functions into the Government Equalities Office, which will ensure direct ministerial engagement with women and women’s organisations
DWP Disability Employment Advisory Committee No longer an NDPB – transfer Disability Employment Advice function to Equality 2025
DWP Equality 2025 Retain – the group will now advise on areas previously covered by other bodies on issues affecting disabled people
DWP Health and Safety Executive Retain – HSE’s functions and expenditure are being scrutinised in the context of the Spending Review and Lord Young’s review of health and safety
DWP Industrial Injuries Advisory Council Retain – retain on grounds of impartiality
DWP National Employment Savings Trust Retain – retain on grounds of performing a technical function that should be independent of Government
DWP Pension Protection Fund Retain – retain on grounds of impartiality
DWP Pensions Ombudsman Merge – merge with Pension Protection Fund Ombudsman to form a single tribunal NDPB
DWP Pension Protection Fund Ombudsman Merge – merge with Pensions Ombudsman to form a single tribunal NDPB
DWP The Pensions Regulator Retain – retain on grounds of impartiality
DWP Remploy Under consideration

DWP

The Pensions Advisory Service Retain – retain on grounds of impartiality

Abbreviations used

NDPB – Non-departmental Public Body; BIS – Department for Business, Innovation & Skills; CO – Cabinet Office; Defra – Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; DfE – Department for Education; DH – Department of Health; MoJ – Ministry of Justice; HO – Home Office; GEO – Government Equalities Office; DWP – Department for Work and Pensions.

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