This is entry No.31, first published on 16 March 2011, of a blog on public bodies reform. Click here to view the whole blog.

The Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, has presented today the Government's response to the Public Administration Select Committee's report "Smaller Government: Shrinking the Quango State" (published in January 2011: see my blog entry No.15 of 7 January). In doing so, he makes a robust defence of the Government's position. This includes announcing:

  • that departments are estimating that cumulative administrative savings of at least £2.6bn will flow from public bodies over the Spending Review period and that total spend will be reduced by at least £1bn per year by 2014-14 (a cumulative amount of £30bn)
  • the production of an updated list of proposed reforms, also a new checklist of issues departments need to consider in implementing public bodies reform and a set of 8 requirements that must be followed in all cases
  • a new system of triennial reviews, to commence in the 2011/12 financial year
  • the Government's agreement that public bodies should not hire PR organisations or attend party conferences
  • the Government's agreement that the Executive Agency model should be the default delivery mechanism in cases where there is a need to deliver public functions with central government but with a degree of operational independence and autonomy from ministers.

Report stage on the Public Bodies Bill in the Lords is now due to take place on 23 and 28 March but it looks as if it may also now need a third day (4 April) in which case the Bill will not complete its passage in the Lords and pass over to the Commons until after the Easter recess.