Public and Commercial Services Union
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Non-departmental public bodies provide vital services

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka  commented yesterday ahead of the official announcement on which non-departmental public bodies are to be abolished.

“We fundamentally disagree with the government’s plans to abolish non-departmental public bodies as part of its public sector cuts. Cutting these bodies will worsen public accountability and will have a huge impact regionally, economically and socially. Far from saving money, once the full impact of abolition is considered there will be substantial costs, including redundancies, relocation, retraining and recruitment.

“We are deeply concerned that in taking decisions to abolish these independent and impartial bodies the government has failed to assess and evaluate the impact or to allow parliamentary or public scrutiny of the decisions. The process is not being transparent, and as a result decisions are seriously flawed.

The coalition says cutting NDPBs will increase public accountability: we believe it will worsen it. There are already mechanisms for the accountability of NDPBs. Abolishing them and transferring their functions to non-public bodies will remove the chance for the public to hold organisations accountable. For example, abolishing the Standards for England and the Audit Commission will remove the route for the public to complain about local councillors.

“Far from reducing costs, there will be serious economic, regional and social impacts from abolition, including the costs and disruption of winding up NDPBs and transferring their responsibilities and the long-term costs to the economy and society from many of the abolitions.

“There will be a severe impact on some of the most vulnerable people in society by putting at risk support for severely disabled people to live independently and at the same time increasing costs by abolishing the Independent Living Fund.

“In education there will be damage to qualification and learning standards and children’s safety and the loss of efficiency in purchasing by abolishing bodies such as the General Teaching Council and Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency.

“Regional economic regeneration and the rural economy will be adversely affected by abolishing agricultural and environmental bodies, including the Regional Development Agencies and the Government Office Network, the Agricultural Wages Board and the Commission for Rural Communities, as well as the Sustainable Development Commission and the Royal Commission on Environmental Protection.

“Local democracy and standards of service will suffer by abolishing Standards for England and the Audit Commission, and standards and efficiency in the police service will be compromised by abolishing the National Police Improvement Agency.

“These wide-ranging attacks will make many people in our communities suffer and must be vehemently opposed and reversed.”

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