Quango changes urged by Tories

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Indy Politics
Conservative councillors want sweeping changes in the appointment and accountability of quangos, according to a survey conducted by Charter 88.

Ninety-one per cent of Conservative councillors wanted changes to the way quangos were run. Nearly two-thirds believed they should be made more accountable to the public and more than two-thirds believed the appointments system should be changed; 95 per cent of Labour and 98 per cent of Liberal Democrat councillors wanted similar changes.

The survey was conducted by mail shot and telephone, producing answers from 969 councillors in February. Of these, 168 were Conservative, 548 Labour, 169 Liberal Democrat, 76 independent and 8 Scottish Nationalist. Colin Darracott, co-ordinator of Charter 88, a constitutional pressure group, said: "The fact that we received nearly 1,000 responses illustrates the depth of feeling at local level about the proliferation of unelected and unaccountable bodies."

Councillors do not simply want services such as schools, health authorities, further education and housing brought under local authority control.

But more than 60 per cent of the Conservatives wanted the membership of quangos broadened; almost two-thirds believed they should be made more accountable; and fewer than 40 per cent thought quangos had been more effective than local government. More than 90 per cent of Conservative councillors believed they should be subjected to the same rules about interests, openness and auditing as local councils.

Eighty per cent of the Labour councillors believed schools should be run by local councils, compared with less than 40 per cent of Conservatives. But 50 per cent of Tories believed hospitals should be run by partially elected and partially appointed bodies.