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DH bodies to be axed

Thirty public bodies related to the UK Department of Health are to be axed or reconstituted as part of government efforts to reform public services

Thirty of the UK Department of Health's (DH) advisory non-departmental public bodies (ANDPB) are to be axed or reconstituted as part of the coalition government's efforts to reform the way public services are managed.

Plans for the ANDPBs, commonly referred to as quangos, were announced as part of a cross-government review led by the Cabinet Office which has seen a total of 192 bodies axed across all government departments.

Of the 30 DH-related bodies affected by the announcement, 11 will be abolished outright, with 19 reconstituted to form larger committees.

The abolished bodies include the Health Protection Agency, which will have its functions transferred as part of the new Public Health Service, and the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, which will be made a self-funding body.

Other abolished ANDPBs are to have functions transferred elsewhere, or to be reformed as charities.

Reconstituted bodies will no longer function as an ANDPB, and will instead form part of one or more of the Department of Health committee of experts; the Public Health Service committee of experts; or the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) committee of experts.

A further 10 ANDPBs connected to the DH are to be retained, principally on the grounds of impartiality. Retained bodies include the Care Quality Commission, the Commission on Human Medicines and Medical Education England.

In a statement, DH said: "The review is part of the government's drive to increase the transparency and accountability of public services and reduce their number and cost. It examined the committees, groups and panels which provide expert advice to government."

Health secretary, Andrew Lansley, commented on the announcement: "Today's changes continue our work to increase the accountability and transparency of public services, as well as ensuring that the advisory mechanisms we have are fit for purpose. The bodies who provide essential independent advice to the department will continue to do so, but they will be streamlined and made more accountable so that they operate in the most cost effective way."

The DH has said the changes will be implemented by 2012, apart from the nine ANDPBs previously assessed by the Arm's Length Body Review in July. Modifications made to these bodies will be in place by 2013/14.

The DH website has a full list of affected bodies.

14th October 2010

From: Healthcare

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