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1300334.  Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:35 am Reply with quote

Officially there's no such thing as a "quango". The official Government term appears to be ALBs (arm's-length bodies), which are split into EAs (executive agencies), NDPBs (non-departmental public bodies) and NMDs (non-ministerial departments). So it's impossible to give an exact figure for the number of quangos funded by the UK taxpayer, but over 400 bodies are in this Government list, including:

  • Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes
  • Birmingham Organising Committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games Ltd
  • Commission for Countering Extremism
  • Directly Operated Railways Limited
  • Ebbsfleet Development Corporation
  • Forest Research
  • Groceries Code Adjudicator
  • Horniman Public Museum and Public Park Trust
  • Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner
  • Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman
  • Low Level Waste Repository Ltd
  • Morecambe Bay Investigation
  • National Army Museum
  • Office of Tax Simplification
  • Plant Varieties and Seeds Tribunal
  • Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre
  • Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest
  • Shale Commissioner
  • Treasure Valuation Committee
  • UK Council for Internet Safety
  • Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committees
  • Westminster Foundation for Democracy
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

(Apparently none for K, X or Z, sadly.)

1300341.  Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:53 am Reply with quote

There must be a lot more black, female, disabled, Welsh trade unionists out there than Sir Humphrey thought...



1300344.  Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:56 am Reply with quote

Just think of all the extra ones that'll come about as a result of Brexit!

1300421.  Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:51 pm Reply with quote

GuyBarry wrote:
Officially there's no such thing as a "quango".

From this we can deduce that the quango is a fish.

1300426.  Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:09 pm Reply with quote

Bondee wrote:
GuyBarry wrote:
Officially there's no such thing as a "quango".

From this we can deduce that the quango is a fish.

Can we, though?



1300428.  Thu Oct 25, 2018 1:37 pm Reply with quote

Bondee wrote:

From this we can deduce that the quango is a fish.

Maybe not, but Seafish (the Sea Fish Industry Authority) is a quango...

One interesting thing I've just found out is the origin of the term "quango" itself. It's generally taken to be an acronym for "quasi-autonomous non-governmental organization", but this appears not to be the case. Here's a letter to the New York Times from Alan Pifer, who originated the term:

For Carnegie Corporation's 1967 report, I wrote a presidential essay, ''The Quasi Nongovernmental Organization,'' in which I discussed the difficulty of reconciling the needs for independence and accountability in a new type of enterprise - incorporated in the private sector but funded by the Federal Government - that had begun to appear. [...] Anthony Barker, a British participant in the project, took my term ''quasi nongovernmental organization,'' which all of us found cumbersome, and turned it into the acronym ''quango.'' The Oxford Dictionary now defines quango in a wholly British context, viz.: ''quango (kwa-ngo) . . . A semi-public administrative body outside the civil service but financed by the exchequer and having members appointed by the government.'' But my 1967 essay is cited for its origin.

This actually makes more sense to me; a quango is an organization that is "quasi-non-governmental", i.e. has some of the characteristics of a genuine non-governmental organization (e.g. Oxfam) while actually being set up and funded by government. "Quasi-autonomous non-governmental organization" would suggest an organization that actually is non-governmental but only appears to be autonomous, whereas in fact most quangos are broadly autonomous but only appear to be non-governmental.

It's also curious that a term invented by an American is apparently in more widespread use in the UK than in the US.


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