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our changing state: mergers and demergers of Non-Departmental Public Bodies

26 June 2017

Chaired by Sir Paul Jenkins, the former Treasury Solicitor, this is our third ‘View from the Top’ public sector roundtable report ‘Our changing state: mergers and demergers of Non-Departmental Public Bodies’.

Download our report

Watch the video below for more information about the report


The Public Bodies Reform Programme is seen by many as the biggest reform of public bodies in over a generation. The first phase of the programme (2010-2015) saw the abolition of over 290 bodies, reducing the administrative burden on the public purse by £3 billion over the life of the programme.

However it hasn’t been without its critics. A National Audit Office report in 2014 concluded that the Cabinet Office has made “good progress” in reducing the number of public bodies but key challenges remained. The landscape remained complex, monitoring systems needed improving, triennial reviews were taking longer than necessary due to insufficient resourcing and major challenges remained in trying to reliably measure the wider value of the reforms.

The second phase of the Public Bodies Reform Programme was announced in 2015 and runs until at least 2020. Against this backdrop, have services been affected by the reforms to date? Did triennial and tailored reviews really achieve their objectives? Has reform to date improved accountability and can future reforms do better? What lessons can be learned from previous restructuring and mergers of Non-Departmental Public Bodies?

Chaired by Sir Paul Jenkins, the former Treasury Solicitor, our third View from the Top public sector roundtable focused on these issues and more with past and present leaders of Non-Departmental Public Bodies, policy influencers and other stakeholders including the Care Quality Commission, Commissioner for Public Appointments, Department for Work and Pensions, Government Legal Department, Natural England, Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service, Professional Standards Authority, RedQuadrant, UK Oil & Gas Authority, Welsh Government and The Whitehall & Industry Group.

The subsequent report, Our changing state: mergers and demergers of Non-Departmental Public Bodies, reflects the thoughts and views that emerged from the roundtable and provides valuable insight into the practical impacts of public body reform together with recommendations for ways to improve the programme in the future.

Download our report

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The content on this page is provided for the purposes of general interest and information. It contains only brief summaries of aspects of the subject matter and does not provide comprehensive statements of the law. It does not constitute legal advice and does not provide a substitute for it.

Richard Barlow

Richard Barlow

Partner and Head of Government Sector

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