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Bonfire of the quangos begins

Website falling over likes it's 1999

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The Coalition has released the full list of quasi-governmental organisations which are for the chop.

The release of the full list was due at 9.30 but was delayed. The Cabinet Office website and the Central Office of Information were both either unavailable or working creakingly slowly due to interest in the announcement.

In all 481 bodies will be reformed and 192 will be abolished. 118 quangos will be merged into 57 new quangos, 171 will be substantially reformed and 380 will be kept untouched. From a total of 901 bodies, 648 will keep their status once the changes are finished.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said any quango had to pass three tests: "Does it perform a technical function? Do its activities require political impartiality? Does it need to act independently to establish facts?"

He said: "All remaining public bodies will be subject to a rigorous triennial review to ensure that the previous pattern of public bodies often outliving the purpose for which they were established is not repeated."

Sounds to us like they'll need to set up a quango to review the quangos.

The Coalition will move to create a single competition and market authority and will substantially reform the Environment Agency and Home and Communities Agency.

Nearly 200 - well, 192 - bodies are being abolished, but in reality many of the functions, and their civil servants, will just be bundled back into their parent departments. There has been no information released on how much money will actually be saved once the redundancy payments have been made.

The press release heralded the change as a move to "radically increase the transparency and accountability of all public services".

A Public Bodies Bill will go to Parliament to usher the changes through. The fate of a further 40 bodies is still to be decided.

The Cabinet Office website, and the full list, is still unavailable at the time of writing.

The Central Office of Information website simply says: Sorry, the website of the Central Office of Information (COI) currently has a technical problem. The website manager has been informed. Please try again later.

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