‘Bonfire of the Quangos’ – Announcement

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude has this morning announced the details of those quangos (Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisations – also known as Non-Departmental Public Bodies, or NDPBs) which are to be abolished or reformed. Twenty three Defra quangos are to be axed, including the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (already announced). Of the remaining quangos, the future of a further six is under consideration, including the future of the Sustainable Development Commission, which will have Defra funding withdrawn at the end of the 2010/11 financial year.

JNCC will be retained on the grounds of its political impartiality. The Environment Agency, Natural England and the Forestry Commission will be retained but will be subjected to substantial reform: “Reform through structural, process and cultural change to become… more efficient and customer focused organisation[s]; and clarify accountabilities. Further announcements after the spending review”. The Environment Agency in Wales may move to form part of a Welsh Assembly Government Environmental Body. In the case of the Forestry Commission, “Details of reform will be set out by Defra later in the autumn as part of the Government’s strategic approach to forestry in England. The Forestry Commission in Wales may move to form part of a WAG Environmental Body.”

Under the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), HEFCE and the Research Councils will be retained, on the grounds of their impartiality, and NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) will become a registered charity, rather than an NDPB.

The full list of quangos is available on the Number 10 website.