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Disappointment, relief and outrage at quango cull

Disappointment, relief and outrage at quango cull
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Disappointment, relief and outrage at quango cull

Finance | Tania Mason | 15 Oct 2010

Capacitybuilders said yesterday that it would fulfil all its funding commitments to March 2011, and would be discussing with grantholders how to arrange final reporting and payments.

Capacitybuilders is one of the casualties of the government’s ‘bonfire of the quangos’ and will close in March next year after disbursing around £150m of government ChangeUp funding to the sector.  The organisation employs 42 full-time staff.

Stephen Dunmore (pictured), chair of Capacitybuilders, said: “I regret that we will not now have the opportunity to build on the very significant improvements we have made in the development and delivery of our programmes over the past three years. We will work closely with the Office of Civil Society to ensure that the closure process and any transition to new funding programmes are as smooth as possible.”

Sir Bert Massie and Richard Corden, Commissioner and chief executive of the Compact Commission, another victim of the quango cull, also voiced their disappointment at the decision. They said: “The Commission has been very effective over the past three years in renewing the Compact, raising its profile, and showing how it could be better implemented to improve partnership working between the voluntary and the public sector. We take pride in what the Commission has achieved.

“We hope that the minister for civil society will soon announce what future arrangements he is putting in place to make sure that the government is accountable for enhancing implementation in its central departments and quangos and for meeting its Compact commitments. And, as most Compact relationships occur at a local level, we would also like to see arrangements put in place in due course to do the same thing at local level.”

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of NCVO, welcomed the strengthened role for Compact Voice in embedding the Compact but agreed it was important that the government put in place new measures to ensure that national and local government is held to account for its actions in relation to the Compact.

Relief - and outrage

Other reactions ranged from relief - the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Heritage Lottery Fund - to outrage, from Unite, the country’s largest union. 

Dame Jenny Abramsky, chair of the NHMF/HLF which escaped the axe, said: “Applicants will be pleased to know that it is very much ‘business as usual’ at HLF.  Money set aside for HLF projects is absolutely safe and with around £50m more to spend from 2012/13, we will continue to encourage people to apply for funding to develop great heritage projects for everyone to enjoy.”

But Unite described the coalition’s plans to cull 192 quangos as “ill-thought out and ideologically-driven”.

Unite joint general secretary, Tony Woodley, said: “The fact that Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude is unable to say how much will be saved and how many jobs will be affected by this cull shows the threadbare nature of the thinking behind these abolition plans.

“There has been little or no consultation on these proposals from this ‘we are all in this together’ government.

“Unite, along with other trade unions, voluntary organisations and consumer groups, will be leading the opposition to the threatened job losses and raising pertinent questions as to why certain quangos are being cut.”

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