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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 May, 2005, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Next step in 'bonfire of quangos'
The three quango logos
First Minister Rhodri Morgan announced his plans in July 2004
The latest stage in the Welsh Assembly Government's plans to end the "quango state" was announced on Tuesday.

Ministers are to begin consultation on the legislation needed to abolish bodies including the Wales Tourist Board and the Welsh Development Agency.

Ministers have claimed their plans have been broadly welcomed by businesses and organisations across Wales following a three-month canvassing of opinion.

However, research by Cardiff University suggests many issues remain unresolved.

The First Minister Rhodri Morgan, chose Bastille Day - 14 July - last year as the day when ministers in Cardiff Bay stormed through the so-called quango state in Wales.

In what was arguably the most radical shake-up of Welsh governance since devolution, the Welsh Development Agency, the Wales Tourist Board and the education and training body, Elwa were all brought "in-house" to become part of an expanded assembly government.

'Very constructive'

The move and the subsequent announcement that three more publicly funded organisations - the Welsh Language Board, the qualifications and curriculum authority ACCAC and Health Professions Wales - would be joining them came with little or no public consultation.

This has led to criticism from opposition parties.

However, since the start of 2005, businesses, trades unions and voluntary groups have all been giving their views on the changes and ministers have said they have all been "broadly positive and very constructive".

Rhodri Morgan
Mr Morgan said the responses were mostly positive

The 125 responses to the consultation will be used to develop the new organisation.

Many of the responses reinforced the need to increase both the speed of delivery and level of co-ordination of public sector support in Wales.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan said they would play an important role in influencing the direction of the merger.

"The responses were thoughtful, constructive and most of the issues raised by individuals were positive," he said.

Meanwhile new research by Cardiff University on the planned take-over of quangos by the assembly government suggests that many issues remain unanswered.

The research which was carried out for BBC Wales, questions - among other things - whether an "already overstretched" Welsh civil service has the capacity to absorb six large organisations and substantially improve upon their performance.

Professor Kevin Morgan said: "There is a great danger that the abolition of the quangos and the merger with the assembly government will create a larger, more bureaucratic and more risk-averse organisation."




END OF THE QUANGOS

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