The rise and fall and probable rise again of the "Quango"

Almost like some of Lewis Carroll's nonsensical and magical tales the Quango could be seen in British political and governmental folklore as a frumerous beast to be slain at the whim of the fearless politico. If reading this you wonder, what this fearsome Quango could be, you need to read and learn.

From the 1980’s the concept of centralised governmental management began to dissolve, where non-governmental agencies (funded by the government) were created to look after specific domains. This served two particular purposes.

  1. Focus the minds of the public on the non-governmental agency, for any matter relating to the work of the agency.
  2. Have a political scapegoat, where any issue, would be the issues of the non-governmental agency, therefore not the issue of the government and enables the government to step in as the champion of the people.

From the mid 1990’s the term evolved into quasi-autonomous national government organisation and therefore Quango. Over the last 30 years, the preponderance of Quangos has increased, with many looking at areas in energy, transport, health, education and much more.

One could assume there is a cost, one could assume there has been the evolution of needless regulation, complexity and interference as each Quango asserts their persona on its domain of influence.

Enter the new government, new world order etc.

One of their first critical promises is to “get rid off” or “reduce” the number of Quangos in the UK with a promised saving of £500,000,000.  From a position of new broom, this all looks very good, working in education, I could volunteer a couple that could be removed, merged, shot in the revolution etc. But another more cynical me thinks:

Some of these offer a role that is of use to the nation, if they are removed, the need remains. Whomever in the government takes over the need, must still have a cost attached to meeting the need. Therefore, the headline savings (whatever they may be) are not as great as they may appear.

So, is this a case of some virtual savings taking place.

Lets sit and watch the political show and see what happens next.


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