Just how big is the quango state?

Monday, 4th October | 12.45 – 13.45

From public health to parenting, airports to artworks, quangos have a huge hidden role in our lives. Over 300,000 people work in these arms-length bodies. Yet their remit – and accountability – often isn’t subject to enough scrutiny. Can they mean better government by relieving pressures on parliament and ministers? Or are they now too unwieldy?

John O’Connell (Chair) | joined the TPA as an intern in 2009. Since then he has worked at every level of the organisation which made him uniquely qualified to become Chief Executive beginning August 2016. As a researcher, and later Research Director, he wrote major reports for the TPA on quangos, government capital procurement, regional business policy and local government pensions. He co-authored the influential paper How to Save £50 Billion: reducing spending for sustainable public finances, released in conjunction with the Institute of Directors. He also uncovered how local councils were spending Preventing Violent Extremism grants, finding more detailed information than could be gathered by Parliamentary Questions. John oversaw the work of the 2020 Tax Commission. He also wrote and edited several sections of its final report, The Single Income Tax, which won the Templeton Freedom Award from the Atlas Network. John frequently represents the TPA on television and radio, including prominent appearances on flagship broadcast programmes and documentaries. He also regularly speaks for the TPA at events, delivering speeches on the TPA’s campaigns and research. In April 2012 John completed the Think Tank MBA in America, an intensive training course offered by the Atlas Network. He has a BA from Nottingham Trent University and an MSc from University College London.

George Greenwood | is a data journalist at The Times and The Sunday Times who specialises in using freedom of information requests and analysing open data for investigative reporting. He started his career at BBC News, then joined The Times in 2018.

Dr Catherine Haddon | is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Government where she leads work on changes of government, ministers, and the workings of the constitution. Before joining the Institute for Government, Catherine was a lecturer on Security and Intelligence history.

Lord Maude | was MP for Horsham from 1997 to 2015 and was elevated to the House of Lords after the election of that year. He was previously Minister of State for Trade and Investment and Paymaster General. He currently focuses on running a consultancy firm specialising in government efficiency and reform.

Nick Timothy | is a columnist for the Daily Telegraph and is a member of the organising committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games. He was Joint Chief of Staff to Theresa May until 2017 and has previously been involved with the Free Schools Network.