Queen's Speech: Public Bodies (Reform) Bill

Notes on: "The cost of bureaucracy and the number of public bodies will be reduced."

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The purpose of the Bill

  • Ensure that there will be a greater degree of transparency and accountability for all Public Bodies (‘quangos’); and provide Ministers with the powers to abolish, merge or transfer functions.

The main benefits of the Bill

  • Cutting the number of public bodies.
  • Reducing the cost of bureaucracy: anticipated year on year savings of £1 billion.
  • New powers to allow Ministers to abolish, merge or transfer functions from public bodies.

The main elements of the Bill

  • Ensuring greater accountability, transparency and efficiency in Government by reducing the number and cost of public bodies (quangos).
  • Give ministers the powers to abolish, merge or transfer quangos back into Departments. As at 31 March 2009, there were 766 non-departmental public bodies.  They spend over £46 billion a year and employ over 110,000 people.
  • To review the functions of all public bodies every three years, as opposed to the current practice of every 5 years.  The review will comprise a test: ‘Is the function technical; does it need to be politically impartial; and do facts need to be determined transparently?’

Existing legislation in this area

  • None


The Bill applies to England and Wales.

Published 25 May 2010