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Department of Health: Arm's-length Bodies

Volume 689: debated on Thursday 1 March 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which bodies were considered by the Department of Health arm's-length body review; which of these bodies existed in 1997; and which of these bodies are expected to be in existence by the end of 2007. [HL1355]

The arm's-length body (ALB) review identified 38 ALBs in existence in 2003-04 as the baseline. These bodies were:

Commission for Health Improvement (CHI);

Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH);

Council for the Regulation of Health Care Professionals (CHRP);

Dental Practice Board (DPB);

Dental Vocational Training Authority (DVTA);

Family Health Services Appeal Authority (FHSAA);

General Social Care Council (GSCC);

Health Development Agency (HDA);

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA);

Health Protection Agency (HPA);

Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts (Monitor);

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA);

Mental Health Act Commission (MHAC);

National Blood Authority (NBA);

National Biological Standards Board (NBSB);

National Clinical Assessment Authority (NCAA);

National Care Standards Commission (NCSC);

NHS Appointments Commission (NHS AC);

NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service (NHS CFSMS);

NHS Direct;

NHS Estates;

NHS Information Authority (NHS IA);

NHS Litigation Authority (NHS LA);

NHS Logistics;

NHS Modernisation Agency (NHS MA);

NHS Pensions Agency (NHS PA);

NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (NHS PASA);

NHS Professionals;

NHSU;

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE);

National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA);

National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB);

National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA);

Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS);

Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB);

Prescription Pricing Authority (PPA);

Retained Organs Commission (ROC);

UK Transplant (UKT).

Of these bodies, nine had existed in the same constituted format in 1997. These were:

Dental Vocational Training Authority (DVTA);

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA);

Mental Health Act Commission (MHAC);

National Blood Authority (NBA);

National Biological Standards Board (NBSB);

NHS Litigation Authority (NHS LA);

Public Health Laboratory Service (PHLS);

Prescription Pricing Authority (PPA);

UK Transplant (UKT).

Of the 38 bodies identified in the ALB review, 16 will still be in existence at the end of 2007. They are:

General Social Care Council (GSCC);

Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH);

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA);

Health Protection Agency (HPA);

Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts (Monitor);

Mental Health Act Commission (MHAC);

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA);

NHS Appointments Commission (NHS AC);

National Biological Standards Board (NBSB);

NHS Litigation Authority (NHS LA);

NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (NHS PASA);

NHS Professionals;

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE);

National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA);

National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA);

Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB).

The ALB change programme is part of a wider programme to improve efficiency and cut bureaucracy in the management of the National Health Service. The objective is to reduce the burden on the front line and to free up more resources for the delivery of front-line services to patients.

The 2004 ALB review report made public commitments to restructure the department’s ALBs and set the following key deliverables:

a reduction in the number of ALBs from 38 to 20 by 2008;

a 25 per cent reduction in the number of posts within the ALB sector by 2008;

a redistribution to front-line services of at least £0.5 billion a year by the end of 2007-08, to be made up of £250 million savings on ALB operating costs and a further £250 million from procurement savings by the NHS PASA on behalf of NHS organisations; and

a contribution of some 1,000 posts to the Lyons agenda of moving public sector jobs outside London and the greater south-east.

Good progress has been make to achieve these targets:

improvements to ALB operating efficiency have helped to deliver a reduction in 2006-07 recurrent grant in aid of over £125 million compared to 2005-06, which comes on top of a reduction in 2005-06 of over £150 million compared to 2003-04;

the number of ALBs has been reduced from 38 to 26 and will fall to 19 by 2008;

a major work programme is under way to deliver the full range of restructurings and savings set out in the ALB review;

a small permanent team, the ALB business support unit, has been established to complete the delivery of the ALB review targets and to ensure that the positive changes generated by the change programme are maintained after the ALB review.