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Quango cull “botched” says committee

7 January 2011

The Westminster Government’s high profile “bonfire of the quangos” will do little to reduce costs or improve transparency, while the process itself has been “poorly managed”, according to the influential Commons public administration committee. Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative chairman of the cross-party committee when even further, saying the initiative had been “botched”.

The Government announced in October that 192 of the 901 existing quangos and other statutory bodies would be scrapped, including the Audit Commission, while a further 118 would be merged. Claims made by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude that the reorganisation would save the Treasury at least £1bn per year were described by the committee as “probably exaggerated”.

The committee’s report, Shrinking the Quango State, criticised the tests used to judge the quangos as "hopelessly unclear".

"The current approach is not going to deliver significant cost savings or result in greater accountability," it said. "There was no meaningful consultation, the tests the review used were not clearly defined and the Cabinet Office failed to establish a proper procedure."

Francis Maude responded to the report this morning, standing by the £1bn savings claim and arguing the initiative was aimed more at improving transparency and accountability than simply saving money.

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