Headlines: May 10th, 1999

The launch of a quango website has gone some way to meet the critics who claim that they are undemocratic, secretive and inefficient. Information about the 1,000 quangos has always been available for those who knew where to find it, but the new site, with links to source information has simplified and speeded up data searching. Quangos fulfil a wide range of functions such as regulation e.g. Health and Safety Executive, commercial e.g. Scottish Enterprise and advisory e.g. Advisory Group on AIDS. The address is www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/quango

Appointments to quango boards has been a particularly contentious issue, with allegations of political bias. A new site www.open.gov.uk/pau/paupoint.htm carries details of more than 9000 public appointments.