MPs attack quangos as unclear, confused and unaccountable

Kate McCann
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Bernard Jenkin: The system of arms-length government is still a mess (Source: Wikimedia)
Quangos, organisations funded by government but which operate independently, are “unaccountable, confused and neglected”, a report out today has found.

The damning conclusion, which likens quangos to film the Matrix, where “doors open on virtual worlds which are insulated from reality and hidden from the public and from those meant to be accountable for them”, will come as a blow to Prime Minister David Cameron who vowed to cut back on the number of arms-length organisations operating in the UK when he took office in 2010.

Chair of the Public Administra­tion select committee Bernard Jenkin MP, said: “Despite the reforms, the system of arms-length government is still a mess, and the government knows it’s still a mess. Vast amounts of money are involved here, £95.6bn in the case of NHS England alone, and it is simply not acceptable that there is no clarity or clear accountability for that kind of public expenditure.”

The committee of MPs also found the structure of quangos and to whom they report was unclear, while the bodies also failed to use plain English, and it was difficult to understand how officials on the organisations were appointed.

A cabinet office spokesman said: “We have reduced the number of public bodies by around a third since 2010, saving £2bn,” adding there was more still to do.

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