Westminster

This three year project will analyse the UK Coalition Government’s major reform of 'arm's length bodies' (ALBs – often called ‘quangos’). Quangos are a frequent focus for public, political and media criticism, regarded as unaccountable, wasteful, and self-serving. But they are also indispensible to modern government, preventing ministers from becoming overloaded, bringing expert advice and management to complex policy issues, and undertaking regulatory and quasi-judicial tasks that need to be politically independent.

The UK’s Coalition Government has a strong political commitment to reducing the scale of the quango state in order to improve accountability and assist deficit reduction. It is reforming almost half of the 900 ALBs for which it is responsible. Our research asks whether and to what extent ALB reform will deliver the policy goal of a smaller, smarter, cheaper state, and what can be learnt from international and historical comparisons.

About our research 

The global financial crisis has added impetus to the search for a ‘smarter state’ and places arm’s length bodies high on the political agenda. This has major implications for the British state as it addresses global economic challenges…

Insights 

What’s at stake in the quango cull?? Is it all about money – or are their implications for the involvement of citizens in government? There are the wider consequences of public body reform…

Latest news

Is the Local Audit Bill really a centralising move?? See what leading commentators have to say on their blog…