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Scrap all QUANGOS?

Comment 16th July 2010

Where quangos are ultimately accountable I see no reason for ALL quangos to be abolished.

Where quangos represent 'jobs for the boys', where the constituants are unfamiliar with the requiremnts of the position held or they are unaccountable; yes they should be abolished. 

One particular 'quango', though I am sure they would reject this appelation, is a body of senior civil servants who have day time jobs but also advise the Honours and Decorations Committee.  This committee rarely meets, and most business is conducted by phone, email, letter and perhaps in the tea room.  Five of this Committee are also, in fact, advisers to the Committee, the Chairman of which is in the Cabinet Office and advises Her Majesty via Her Majesty's Private Secretary. 

They are answerable, so they say, only to Her Majesty. They do not, apparently, answer to a democratically  elected Government.  There does seem to be a large number of cases where, in my opinion, the Royal Prerogative is impoperly used.  If they are challenge they constantly move the 'goalposts' and, indeed had a special Part C added to the new rules which were placed in the House of Commons Library which precluded the Pingat Jasa Malaysia from being worn, despite the fact that it was accepted by Her Majesty on behalf of 35,000 veterans and is merely a departmental rule which apparently has precedence over the London Gazette 5057 dated 3 May 1968, still extant, and the Joint Service Publication 761, paragraph 21.

I belong, proudly, to an organisation that has been fighting for justice for over four years. The then Foreign Minister(2005) asked for a review of the rules which governed the Award of  Commonwealth and Foreign a,wards and decoration.  After 12 months the H&D Committee returned with new rules and the  above mentioned Part C. During the run up to the election we were promised a review of what was seen as inconsistanly or randomly applied rules.  One member of our campaign recently wrote to his 'new' MP who wrote to the appropriate Minister, who then replied with all the nonsense, obfuscation and downright misleading information that they have given to Ministers and MPs over the last  four years.  We had hoped for something more substantial than it being passed to the same civil servants, who, of course, replied with the outdated and arguable facts regarding double meddaling, and one medal for each campaign.

What I ask this new, Coalition Government for, is an independent review and enquiry into what purpose all these people serve.  They must of course be prepared to challenge the agenda of them and where necessary ask them to justify 4 years of corresponding with the campaigners which, incidentally, they have now refused to do.

Why does this matter?

In the case of this particular 'quango', it is, I believe still living in the Imperial past.  I believe that there is a better way, for example the Australian system for granting awards and decoration with out the total secrecy and unaccountability curently enjoyed by the advisers to and the H&D Committee itself.

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