• January 27, 2016


Chris Thomas MHK has raised the issue of quangos in Tynwald and indeed the necessity and scope of some of the vast plethora of these committees across the public service.

Coincidentally the issue was raised by the Celtic League with the Chief Secretary last year when were referred to them as the ‘Cottage Industries of Trumpton’


One of the points we sought clarification on at the time from the Chief Secretary was the extent of these bodies speculating that no one actually knows how many there are.

The substance of our query is at this link:


Our suspicions were confirmed when Mr Will Greenhow in a very comprehensive reply qualified his answer with the following;

“While we have attempted to compile as comprehensive a list as possible, it should be noted that there may be omissions due to the broad nature of the definition.”

Interestingly when the issue surfaced in the Keys Mr Thomas got support for his initiative from John Shimmin MHK, Policy and Reform Minister. Mr Shimmin said he was very pleased to second the motion saying:

‘It is exactly what we should be doing’.

Going on

‘This work was carried out a couple of years ago by some of the senior management team as part of their professional development. The number was well over a hundred, so we have a starting point already.

‘But things do change and evolve, and I think it is absolutely the right time, as we come to the end of this administration, to have all of this clearly identified, documented and then considered by parliament, as to the suitability and whether they are, indeed, offering the best service to the public in their current form.’

It does seem somewhat surprising that despite almost five years of a government pledged to ‘leaner and fitter government’ with less bureaucracy that at its fag-end they finally have their attention drawn to a bureaucratic carbuncle that has been around for years.

Additionally Will Greenhow never referred in his response to us about ‘the work carried a couple of years ago by some of the senior management group’ which is strange because knowing Mr Greenhow well he is always punctilious in his replies.

Perhaps the Policy and Reform Minister could be more precise about what ‘work’ was done and publish the conclusions?

Also detailed as Mr Greenhow’s letter was we never did find out just who was benefiting from this ‘gravy train’ or how thick the gravy is. Perhaps John might clarify that as well!

Photograph: John Shimmin – Policy and Reform Minister.


Issued by: The Celtic News



The Celtic League established in 1961 has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It promotes cooperation between the countries and campaigns on a range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, military activity and socio-economic issues


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