Fine Gael claim that their plan for Reinventing Government will lead to “the abolition of 145 state bodies and companies”. On their Flickr account, they put it more bluntly: Fine Gael will “abolish 145 quangos“.
So I decided to have a closer look at the list, which can be found at Appendix One of Reinventing Government.
The first thing that strikes me is the word “abolish” doesn’t appear that often. Most quangos are “merged”. A few are “closed” or “discontinued”.
For the sake of variety, one is “absorbed”, two are “amalgamated”. I’m not sure how that’s different from “merged”.
Very few are gone. VECs are rationalised, not abolished. Regional authorities and country enterprise boards are gone. Those two cuts account for 57 of the 145.
Some quangos are reabsorbed into the civil service. No more directors expenses, but probably no redundancies among people doing the actual work.
Most mergers mean two or more quangos combining to create a new quango. No doubt with a new board, new logo, new website, but again, probably no redundancies.
I count 41 new quangos after the reorganisation (21 if you exclude the VECs). Is this a case of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic?