The Government review of public bodies focused on whether a body's functions were necessary, and if it thought they were, whether it had to be delivered at arm's length from Government. The review was poorly managed: no meaningful consultation; the tests used were not clearly defined; and no proper procedure for departments to follow. The Bill giving the power to bring about these changes was equally badly drafted. Now the Government faces the much larger challenge of successfully implementing these reforms. The Cabinet Office should issue clear guidance on how to manage this transition. The Committee has developed, with the National Audit Office, its own guidance which departments could use. The Government wanted to increase accountability by bringing functions previously discharged by public bodies back in to central departments, thus making ministers directly responsible for the decisions taken. But stakeholders and civil society play an important role providing challenge and criticism to public bodies on a day to day basis and it is easiest for them to perform this role when they have a clearly identified body to engage with, not a homogenous central department. There is a way to meet both demands: set these bodies up as executive agencies. There is a need for a simplified system for public bodies so that it is clear to everyone who is responsible for what, and how much input it is right for the Government to have. The review represents a missed opportunity to reassess what functions public bodies are needed to perform.I am the Secretary of the Council of Civil Service Unions. Chair: Well, thank ... about the review process on decisions to abolish, merge or make more efficient or more effective certain public bodies. Charles Cochrane: I will start, if you like. I think the short answer is, both in the general and the specific, we werena#39;t. Whilst weanbsp;...
|Author||:||Great Britain: Parliament: House of Commons: Public Administration Select Committee|
|Publisher||:||The Stationery Office - 2011-01-01|