THERE are too many quangos operating in the employment sector, duplicating work and wasting taxpayers’ money, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).
Quasi autonomous non-governmental organisations have proliferated over the last few years, especially in areas like employment, employee relations and health and safety. Now Dr John Philpott, (left) public policy director and chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) calls for the byzantine system of quangos operating in the field of employment and skills policy to be streamlined.
Dr Philpott said, “The quangocracy operating in the UK employment policy space has grown far too large. A byzantine system of bodies has emerged covering employment, skills, pay determination, equalities, employee relations, migration and health and safety matters. In some cases a plethora of satellite sub-quangos exist alongside very similar larger bodies. And across the board there is a tendency toward so-called mission creep whereby those running the quangos interpret their official remits as widely as possible in order to empire build and increase their spheres of influence.
“The resulting, often competing, welter of policy reviews, research initiatives and PR campaigns run by the jobs quangos not only add substantial numbers of directly employed staff to the public sector payroll but also provide income, at taxpayers expense, to a large client workforce of independent consultants and contract researchers.
“It is far from clear how much value for money the existing jobs-related quangos provide to the taxpayer – a review of their size, efficiency and remit is long-overdue. There is a strong prima facie case for limiting the remits of quangos and streamlining their functions to reduce duplication and possible over-staffing. One possibility that we would strongly recommend is to streamline several of the existing bodies into a single Workplace Commission with the simple remit of spreading best practice on how to boost productivity across both the private and public sectors.
“Politicians with a genuine interest in building a ‘bonfire of quangos’ should, however, be mindful of the difficulty of setting such a bonfire alight. The quangocrats are invariably powerful and influential members of the broader political establishment and often highly skilled in the art of self-preservation, with many supporters and acolytes ready to defend them in the corridors of power. Taking on the quangos is thus always easier said than done.”