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BBC Onepolitics show


Last Updated: Thursday, 12 October 2006, 15:38 GMT 16:38 UK
South: Have you been quango'd?
Ian Paul
Ian Paul
The Politics Show, BBC South

Boy brushing teeth
We come into contact with quangos at an early age and early in the day...

There are "bodies corporate" out there that touch our lives every day. Some are bigger than others and their effect on our lives varies from the incidental to the crucial... they are quangos. But how do they affect you?

It is seven in the morning, and the Everyman household in Newbury is already stirring.

The Andrew Peach programme is on the radio (subject to OFCOM regulations), breakfast (under the supervision of the Home-Grown Cereals Authority) and a cup of tea (thanks to the Milk Development Council for that) sitting on the table.

Brushing your teeth is obviously important (see the Standing Dental Advisory Commission, the Dental Practice Board, and the Dental Vocational Training Authority).

But no time to make lunch for the kids (the School Food Trust will probably have something to say about that).

The last thing on a commuter's mind would be the quango behind transport... or would it?

Out of the house and onto the train... (Passenger Focus, the Strategic Rail Authority, the Commission for Integrated Transport - then safely into the office where the computer and the chair awaits (Health and Safety Commission).

Lunchtime brings a cornucopia of oversights - the Animal Welfare Strategy England Implementation Group, the British Potato Council, the Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment, the Sea Fish Industry Authority and Food Britain.

You get the point?

Our lives and almost everything we do, are impinged on in ways we probably never imagined by one quango or another.

But that may not be a bad thing.

Some say that the workings of quangos is all rather fishy...

I expect we all sit more easily at the table knowing that the Committee on Carcinogenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment is on the case.

But then part of the issue is that we do not know what these organisations are, or who their members may be.

Our very own quango...

Often all we have to go on is an alphabet soup of PPARCs, ESRCs, AWACs and NERCs.


A small name for quite a big player, at least here in the South.

It is the South East of England Development Agency.

They dispose of more than 160m of government funding to encourage economic and social development in the region.

Did you know that? Do you know who sits on it? Do you know where it spends our money? Do you know who it is accountable to for how it spends that money?

British bank notes
Do we know that quango money is being wisely spent?

If not, join Peter Henley live this Sunday, when he will be putting all those questions to SEEDA.

Or send us an email with what you want to know - your questions are there for the asking.

And... for a chance to win a fabulous prize on Sunday (in keeping with the slightly secretive nature of quangos we are unable to tell you what it is), send us an email saying which of the following is not a quango:

  • 1] Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors
  • 2] National Wildlife Development and Marketing Agency
  • 3] The Depleted Uranium Oversight Board

Meanwhile, join Peter Henley who will announce the lucky winner on the Politics Show on Sunday 15 October 2006 at from 12:00 BST on BBC One.

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