HC Deb 17 December 1997 vol 303 cc317-8
8. Mr. Terry Lewis

What action he has taken to increase the accountability of non—departmental public bodies. [19608]

Mr. Kilfoyle

The Government are determined to ensure that quangos are made more open and accountable. In the consultation paper "Opening up Quangos", published on 11 November, we set out a number of proposals to do so. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster announced on the same day the publication of "Executive Non-departmental Public Bodies: 1997 Report", which is a clear signal of the Government's determination to make executive NDPBs more transparent, accessible and accountable to the taxpayer.

Mr. Lewis

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that reply, but in the quest for greater transparency, will he ensure that quangos open their doors more to the public? Perhaps a Select Committee would be an appropriate way of overseeing and supervising the quangocracy.

Mr. Kilfoyle

We intend to make the quangos more accountable to Parliament, as well as to the general public. We shall do that through a number of measures, including perhaps extending the remit of Select Committees—that is in the consultation paper. Also, for the ordinary citizen, we want to ensure that each body publishes an annual report and a summary of its meetings, and, where practicable, has open meetings to which the general public are invited.