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Manchester’s bonfire of the quangos

The Grouch looks at the reshuffle of Manchester’s ‘family’ as funding cuts worsen

Published on February 24th 2011.

Manchester’s bonfire of the quangos

I read an interesting document yesterday, as, I imagine, did most of Manchester’s public sector hangers-on.

Making cuts is never a nice thing to have to do, but many observers will offer a view thinning out the multitude of agencies that all seemed to exist to carry out the same jobs is long overdue.

It was a document set to go before Friday’s meeting of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, laying out how much funding was being pulled from under the feet of the region’s various quangos – MIDAS, The Commission for the New Economy, Marketing Manchester et al.

They were expecting cuts amounting to £2.8m – instead, that amount has been increased to £4m, following the demolition of the NWDA.

What does that mean? A re-shuffle of the city’s network of quangos and the possible loss of 100 jobs across the various organisations. Hardest hit will be MIDAS and New Economy, which will see funding halved. Manchester Knowledge Capital has been wound up.

According to the report, the new role of the Manchester family will be to ‘respond and mitigate for the economic and structural challenges’ the funding cuts bring.

They’ll have to share back office functions and staff, under one new umbrella organisation led by MIDAS boss Angie Robinson.

Three new ‘centres of excellence’ will also be created; a business growth outfit incorporating MIDAS and Business Support Solutions to concentrate on international inward investment; one to handle marketing, made up of Marketing Manchester and Visit Manchester; and a research division led by the Commission for the New Economy, which will stand down its board of directors under the new arrangement.

Other sources of funding for the quangos are being looked at, but the report reminds them that ‘the funding climate in the medium-term is likely to remain at least as tight as at present and may in fact become more challenging still.’

The Chamber of Commerce – Robinson’s former home – is also supporting the re-jig. Robinson has found herself in a remarkable position, sat at the top of the tree just a few years after her entire career was in question.

Making cuts is never a nice thing to have to do, but many observers will offer a view that thinning out the multitude of agencies that all seemed to exist to carry out the same jobs is long overdue.

Manchester has a mind-boggling array of public sector support organisations, with undeniable overlaps. Some would argue that the city could have perhaps expected more international inward investment given the resources thrown at them.

A streamlined, more focused set of quangos should be able to work smarter, sharing resources and forming a proper family bond, rather than a semi-connected network of dizzyingly titled organisations.

Supporting such a huge number of quangos is an expense the city probably can’t afford any more, irrespective of past achievements.

You can read the full report here.

Follow Grouch on twitter @Mcrgrouch

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AndFebruary 23rd 2011.

The link doesn't seem to work

TechnicalFebruary 23rd 2011.

'Tis fixed now

AnonymousFebruary 23rd 2011.

Good news.

Manchester is a small place and it is hard to avoid earnest and self-important quangoites as they bustle around doing nothing and attending pointless meetings.

What an annoying bunch they are. They never seem to have much to do and lots of time in which to do it, and they never seem to understand that most of us have jobs which give us a lot to do and not much time to do it in.

They also clog up the 1st class seats on the trains down to London. Private sector passengers in those seats seem a minority these days.

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