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QUANGOS: HAS THE GOVERNMENT GOT THE MESSAGE?

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The government seems at last to have got the message that quangos are unaccountable to the people they purport to s...
The government seems at last to have got the message that quangos are unaccountable to the people they purport to serve, say the AMA.

Jeremy Beacham, AMA chair, says: 'The government has had a deathbed conversion to the idea that bodies that purport to exist to met public needs should be accountable to the public which pays the bills. It is a case we have been making loudly and vigorously for years.

'It is no good public services minister Roger Freeman dismissing criticism of quangos as based on myths. His own response to Nolan shows that government accepts that action has got to be taken to stop the rot.

'He now accepts that every one of the quangos has got to be reviewed, that quangos should be opened up to the Ombudsman and to public audit and that most should be obliged to consult with local authorities and other public bodies.'

He added: 'The rise of the quango state has been a major concern in recent years - there are now more than four times as many unelected people serving on these quangos as there are councillors elected to local authorities. And the expenditure of these unelected bodies now exceeds that of local government. Such wholesale unaccountability cannot be right.'

He went on: 'Services now run by unelected bodies have got to brought back into democratic control, and local authorities have a key role in bringing quangos to account.'

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