Bonfire of the Quangos – shock news, not many burnt

The bonfire of the quangos has turned out to be more of a slight toasting of the quangos.  No definite savings identified for a start; not to my surprise, and I'm not criticising.  We've said it before: most 'quangos' do pretty essential stuff that someone has to do - the Legal Services Commission (LSC) being a great example that we discussed here.

So looking at the Cabinet Office list that came out today (and caused a huge crash of their website), many of the bodies that are genuinely 'abolished' are pretty small organisations; advisory councils and the like.  There are exceptions such as the Audit Commission, but many significant organisations survive, or are still under review, or the comment is along the lines of  "functions will be transferred into the parent Department" or "reconstituted as a committee of experts".

In terms of bodies that have particular procurement interest or relevance, with my comments in italics:

Regional Development Agencies; "RDAs will be abolished and functions which are to be retained will be transferred to central or local government and others" (what does this mean for RIEPS?)

LSC - to be turned into an Agency (which Sir Ian Magee suggested before the election).

Central Office of Information Under consideration - Pending a review of Government advertising to be finalised by the end of November (they set up central government contracts in areas such as advertising).

Firebuy - Abolish body and transfer procurement functions to alternative suppliers, and residual functions to department (I hope their capable staff survive somewhere)

National Policing Improvement Agency - Currently considering which functions must be delivered nationally and where they should sit in a rationalised national policing landscape, as previously announced (well, glad that's clear then...)

Partnerships for Schools- Under Consideration - Subject to the overarching review of Department for Education’s capital expenditure, to be completed in December 2010 (surprised it has survived - the body behind Building Schools for the Future)

So all of this isn't contributing much to the budget deficit reduction; and it is not just the closure cost for those bodies that are going, it is the costs where quangos are being turned into something else.  Significant in some cases.  I'm beginning to think Michael Portillo may just be right....

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