Headlines: July 21st, 2010

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development is releasing a policy paper today which it says will help the Government to streamline the ‘byzantine system of quangos’ operating in the field of education and skills policy – and potentially save more than 500 million pounds.

As the debate continues about the size, scope and efficiency of quangos, the CIPD argues it is vital to look again at why they exist and whether they should remain in existence given cutbacks in government spending. It is calling for a thorough review of quangos and suggests four newly-devised and rigorous ‘tests’ are applied to six significant education and skills bodies.

The tests ask if it is appropriate for the quango to receive taxpayers’ money for the job it does, whether it offers value for money, if it is ‘crowding out’ or competing with the private or third sector and, in the case of quangos with few or no competitors, is the private or third sector able and willing to provide the same function?

The quangos covered in the paper are the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, the Learning and Skills Network, Lifelong Learning UK, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education and the nine Regional Development Agencies. The CIPD’s Policy Adviser on Skills, Tom Richmond, says if the Government dissolved or sold off the quangos more than 500 million pounds could be saved in two years. “With so much money at stake and with imminent spending reductions across many government departments, the role, purpose and operations of each individual quango must therefore be revisited as a matter of urgency,” he said.