Thursday, 14 October 2010

The Quango Cull --- Sir Philip Green's "efficiency' report

The government has announced its plans for many of the public bodies.  Many will be abolished.  Functions will be transferred.  Some remain under review.  Others have been spared.  The list may be seen here.   

The Ministry of Justice website gives further information regarding various bodies connected with "justice" generally - see here.

Six public bodies will no longer operate as non departmental public bodies:

  • The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales will be abolished and its functions brought within the Ministry of Justice
  • The Legal Services Commission will become an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice
  • The Victim’s Advisory Panel will be abolished
  • The Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council will be abolished
  • Courts boards (19 in total) will be abolished.
  • The Crown Court Rule Committee’s functions will be transferred to the Lord Chief Justice in consultation with other rule committees.

Four public bodies will no longer operate as statutory bodies: 
  • HM Inspectorate of Court Administration will be abolished
  • The Legal Services Ombudsman will be abolished
  • The Magistrates’ Courts Rule Committee’s function will be transferred to other rule committees
  • The Public Guardian Board will be abolished.
 In addition, certain planned functions of the Chief Coroner’s Office may be transferred to alternative bodies.

A primary "driver" behind all of this is supposedly the saving of money though the whole exercise is now being presented as an improvement in "accountability."  It has to be doubted just how much will be saved particularly given the likelihood that many of the staff in "redundant" quangos will be absorbed into new bodies or into the civil service itself.

Sir Philip Green's "Efficiency Review" report has also been published - here.  It is sad indictment of the state of affairs within government administration.  Little wonder really!  Politicians and civil servants are not business people are they?  Few, if any, businesses would survive with anything like the level of profligacy revealed by Sir Philip.

Speaking of "profligacy" the cavalcade of vehicles used to take Herman Van Rompuy (President of the European Council) from Brussels to Paris requries some proper explanation to the increasingly hard-pressed people of Europe - see here.   

Addendum 15th October 2010:  Controversy over scrapping the Youth Justice Board.  See also the view of Frances Crook of the Howard League.

A further interesting angle relates to Britain's military commitments.  These are immensely expensive but the USA is reported to be concerned about any reductions - see Telegraph 15th October "Liam Fox assures US of Britain's commitment to NATO."  International commitments, such as NATO, lock the UK into considerable expenditure and this means that the cuts are likely to fall disproportionately on other areas such as "social welfare."  

Writing in The Guardian ( "Legal aid delivers justice; kind lawyer's won't"), Afua Hirsch expresses concern about reductions in legal aid and the problems arising in welfare law areas such as housing, debt, immigration etc.  These areas are of enormous importance to many people and, given the recession, the numbers affected may well increase.

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