Public Bodies Act Which Empowers Government To Abolish Quangos Receives Royal AscentPosted on December 16, 2011 by admin in Common law
The Public Bodies Bill has received Royal Ascent and has now become the Public Bodies Act, an act of Parliament. The new law empowers the government in the UK to abolish the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). The HFEA is the country’s independent regulator of fertility treatment and embryo research and now the Coalition Government can eliminate the quango that has allegedly ‘spiralled out of control.’ The Act had reportedly been created to increase transparency and accountability and cut out waste and duplication. It is the main legislative vehicle for the Government to review public bodies.
The Bill will allow Ministers, by order, to abolish, merge or transfer the functions of the public bodies listed in the appropriate schedules to the Act. The Bill completed its passage through the House of Lords where it underwent significant amendments. Attempts by the fertility regulator and the intervention of politicians to win a reprieve were unsuccessful.
Some of the quangos that were originally listed in the Public Bodies Bill, like the Youth Justice Board and the Forestry Commission, were excluded following lobbying and amendments in Parliament. The proposed revision of the Act that excluded the HFEA was defeated after votes from the House of Lords. It is predicted that the eradication of the HFEA will occur at the end of the current Parliament.
The Government argue that there will be ample opportunity to the British public to consult the transfer of the HSEA’s functions and powers. It is expected that regulation of fertility clinics will be transferred to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) despite the CQC saying it is already overstretched and ill-placed to assume the HFEA’s role. News of the upcoming UK law follows the regulator’s latest published figures which show that the number of IVF treatments continue to rise.