Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A bonfire of the QuANGO's?

A QuANGO is a Quasi Autonomous Non Governmental Organisation.

In principle, in their place they are no bad thing. For example they can be independent of government, albeit only to an extent. Only to an extent of course because those who run a QuANGO are usually picked by the executive and only really gain Independence when it is obvious that is likely to change, particularly if the head of said QuANGO decides now is a good time to give the existing executive a bit of a kicking.

As an example, we have the Office for National Statistics. This obviously has to be arms length and independent of government in order for there to be trust in the numbers it produces. However it is only as independent as its head, and he or she is only as independent as his next reappointment.

The ONS has given the government a bit of a kicking over things like immigration, but I personally suspect that is because the stench of death over this government is so clear you can smell it in Australia.

However there is another reason for creating an arms length QuANGO, and that is political cover for uncomfortable decisions. The Learning and Skills Council has crashed and burned in terms of setting up new collages and funding expansion of places (even here in Mid Sussex) but taken the heat for the calamity without it burning politicians.

You see, it gives political cover.

The Conservative party currently propose an independent NHS board to stop the NHS being a political football.

This is of course a fantastic aim, and is a bit like motherhood and apple pie (as our American cousins would say). You can't argue against motherhood and apple pie!

Except of course you can. The NHS consumes huge amounts of taxpayers cash. Enormous amounts of it. It will be something like £102 billion either this year or next.

Personally, I want to fire someone if they get that spending wrong. It is after all, a remarkably large amount of my cash.

And this is the problem with QuANGO's in general. They are a way of dodging political responsibility, generating headlines and pretending something is being done, whether it is or isn't.

The BBC has this.

4 comments:

captainff said...

You've got to admire Phillip Hammond's performance on the Daily Politics on Monday over this initiative .. .. .. or not.

Benedict White said...

Well, to be fair to Phllip Hammond, you can see that we need more QuANGO's on some places. We just need less in others and in all cases their remot needs to be tight.

Julie said...

We just need less in others and in all cases their remot needs to be tight.


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Julie
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Jenifer said...

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