How the government is planning to reorganise all those quangos

Posted on November 2, 2010 by


When the government announced they were going to reorganise lots of quangos, including research regulators like the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and the Human Tissue Authority (HTA), this looked like it could be an overwhelmingly complicated job as it would involve re-opening lots of Acts that set up and specifically ascribed tasks to different quangos. But a new bill published last week in the Lords  – the Public Bodies Bill – shows how they plan to go about this; by creating a legal framework enabling them to make changes to quangos, modifying their constitutions, funding arrangements or transferring their functions elsewhere, without opening up the original Act that created them. There is more about the plans for the Bill in the accompanying press release from the Cabinet Office.

Is this relevant to medical research?

The HFEA and HTA are included in the list of bodies this Bill will have the power to modify or transfer the functions of. The NHS white paper included proposals to create a single research regulator which would include both of these authorities’ functions. This Bill could allow, in the case of the Human Fertilisation and Embyrology Authority, these changes to be made without opening up the recently passed Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 which included regulation of research using human embryos among other topics and took up a considerable amount of parliamentary time.

What now?

The Bill has had it’s first reading in the Lords and will need to go through all stages in the Lords and Commons to reach parliamentary approval before any of this will be put into action. More on the timetable here.


Posted in: Policy