Queen's Speech: Public Bodies (Reform) Bill

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

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

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.