The Government is more than halfway through the first wave of its quango reform programme, with the changes made so far set to save at least £1.4 billion for the taxpayer in this Parliament, the Minister for the Cabinet Office announced today.
The Cabinet Office has driven reforms which put the Government well on track to save at least £2.6 billion by 2015 – the equivalent of £150 for each working household in the country.
In a recent report, the Public Accounts Committee called the Government’s reforms ‘the largest restructuring of public bodies for many decades’ and said it would have a substantial and lasting impact on how public money is spent. Today’s announcement shows that rapid progress is being made and the benefits are already being felt.
The closure of public bodies will save taxpayer money, increase accountability, and improve public services. This programme forms a crucial part of the wider Civil Service Reforms currently underway.
Today’s progress update follows a review of the public body landscape in 2010. Since then, some of the biggest bodies have closed, including:
• Regional Development Agencies – by 2010 RDAs were costing the taxpayer approximately £2 billion per year, yet the economic disparity between the regions had continued over the last decade. Their closure will save the taxpayer billions and ensure that local economies are provided with tailored support to boost growth.
• Schools Bodies – 11 school bodies have now been closed. By making these closures and bringing a further seven bodies in house, the Government is restoring accountability by ensuring schools are the responsibility of Ministers. Closing these bodies allows resources to be focused on the front line, and sweeps away unnecessary and complex administration for schools
• Canals and Waterways – by moving responsibility for our canals and waterways to the Canals & Waterways Trust, we have replaced a quango with one of Britain’s largest charities. As government moves out the way, volunteers and local communities can take more responsibility for these valuable national assets.
• Child Support - the Government has taken direct responsibility for the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission (CMEC), bringing it back into the Department for Work and Pensions. The Child Support Agency was a bureaucratic and costly organisation with a history of problems. The reforms will ensure that it is once again the responsibility of Ministers to improve this service for the families that rely on it.