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Deleted expected roles because of copy right violation[edit]

I removed the section on 'expected roles' because it was copied out of a report (Julie Macleavy, The Quango Debate, 2005, page 8[1] )! Cypers (talk) 15:39, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

  1. ^ Julie, Macleavy. "The Quango Debate" (PDF). Parliament and Constitution Centre. Retrieved 4 June 2012.

Bonfire of the Quangos[edit]

I've seen the expression "bonfire of the Quangos" several places but no definition or clear first use. Any help? --Phil Wolff (talk) 01:00, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

According to Radio 4 this morning, the phrase was coined by Gordon Brown fifteen years ago. Ausseagull (talk) 08:50, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Source question[edit]

Removed from article, as not sourced, and can't find it via Google:

Amongst those QUANGOs investigated, it was found that in London hospital trusts, over 70% of the members had direct family links ministers and MPs in the Conservative party.

Can anyone find a source for this assertion? The Anome

Quango, QUANGO or QuANGO?[edit]

I'm not sure which of these we should use. The last is the most logical (IMO) and the first is the most commonly used (c.f. Google). What do you think, Anome? Why did you go for the middle one? Mr. Jones 18:04, 13 Aug 2004 (UTC)

It's ok to use the first one, the easiest one, as it is in common use everywhere.

The Cabinet Office website[1] refers to Quango. AMe 20:17, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

Request for Cleanup[edit]


Though some parts of this article are useful, the correct terminology of Executive Agency or Non-Departmental Public Body should be prefered. All three need to be sorted out as there is a lot of re-directing going on and a fair degree of confusion. Davidkinnen 17:46, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

I've done a fairly substantial cleanup of the main body, but the UK section still needs work JQ 06:53, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

The lists on this page are inaccurate and confusing, in that quite a few of them are NOT quangos or NDPBs. Guineveretoo 10:52, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Request for retitle[edit]

The article should be under QUANGO or QANGO, not under its present title which is one of a number of ex post rationalisations of the acronym. Historically QUANGO for Quasi-NGO came first and that should be the heading, although other uses such as that described here were more important in the end.JQ 22:37, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

This change has now been implemented, thanks to User:William_M._Connolley

Good call -- most people wanting to look up Quango spell it this way. Also, it would be foolish to merge this with the NDPB entry, since those interested can follow the links, as did I.


The sentence on Fanny Mae has been removed, since this is a US organization, and the term is not used in that country. DGG 05:17, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

I have a request to add something on Quango as expressed in popular culture. As a non-Briton, I wouldn't be able to contribute anything to that, but I would like to know more of the cultural views of it. For example, there is a song off Blur's album The Great Escape, called "Mr. Robinson's Quango" and I dont have a clue what it means...

Proposed merge[edit]

I've proposed that this page be merged with Non-departmental public body. I don't believe they are sufficiently different things to merit separate articles, if indeed they are different at all.

I don't know which title the resulting page should have - my impression is that "Quango" is more widely used and understood, but that "NDPB" is now the legal term for such a body. However, having worked in one, I suspect that "NDPB" may have been invented to avoid the negative connotations of "Quango"... and will therefore prove less lasting. Mswake 21:10, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

Oppose NDBP is a UK-specific term. Quango is used in other countries and to cover a variety of organisations that do not fit the NDBP definition. Also, as you indicate, Quango is clearly a pejorative and should be discussed as such, not as the encyclopedic term. JQ 07:16, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
Strongly Oppose NDBPs are, by definition, government bodies. When used correctly quangos are NON-government organisations (although frequently in receipt of government funding). Very different animals. Sceptic 12:15, 4 November 2006 (UTC)
Strongly Oppose because the Quango term is used in literature and commentary and so is articleworthy. Sceptic distinguishes the two saying "quangos are non-government organizations" but I believe the better explanation is that they are non-governing organizations. They are indeed creatures of governments and funded by the taxpayers, but do not exercise first level civil authority such as police protection. Their directors are appointed and not elected, so they are unaccountable. Such creatures should be dealt with in their own article, which this one does. --StanZegel (talk) 07:50, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Oppose quangos are non governmental organisations, NDBPs are governmental bodies. Secretlondon 10:15, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Strongly Oppose as the term Quango is used in the UK press and in parliament  BRIANTIST  (talk) 10:41, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Strongly Oppose the reason they call them quangos is because this gives for a government the freedom to exert its political and social agenda cunningly disguise behind what looks like a mainstream NGO that are accepted world wide for their charity and philanthropic activities.Davedawit (talk) 09:52, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Davedawit (talk) 09:52, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Needs bold update[edit]

I think we need a bold update here to restrict this article to a discussion of the history and use of an ill-defined, and rather perjorative term.

The article should then provide a proper navigation aid to the intitutions of the UK government to which it has variously and inconsistently been applied (classification from Bradley & Ewing Constitutional and Administrative Law 13th ed):

  • Cabinet and Government departments:
  • Public corporations, e.g. BBC
  • NHS bodies
  • NDPBs
    • Executive NDPBs
    • Advisory NDPBs
    • Tribunals
    • IMBs

Also nagivation aid to other nations who use the term.

The list of executive agencies should be in that article and looks wrong in any case. Surely the Council on Tribunals is a NDPB. Cutler (talk) 20:41, 26 March 2008 (UTC)

Absolutely; the list of executive agencies does not belong here, but, if it is accurate, somewhere in the series on UK government. The term quango was rapidly falling out of use when the UK formed executive agencies, but I agree that some people use the term for them, as well as for the many other bodies that Cutler mentions. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 00:52, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I've deleted the list which was replicated where it belongs in Executive agency.JQ (talk) 09:42, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Merge with Quasi-governmental[edit]

Quasi-governmental is a very brief article on a distinct but closely related topic. That article would make a good section in Quango, if it had better references. This was proposed in December, so I suggest that some just does it. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 00:48, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

This article admits that this term is not used in the UK to describe various independent governmental agencies due to the ambiguity about whether Quango means quasi- NGOS. The term describes an indistinct concept, and so a proper encyclopedic treatment would tease out the distinct concepts and vector users to articles on those distinct concepts. So for no other reason, merging is not in order here. Rather the opposite.
Clearly, as "Quasi-NGO", the two sets have some intersection but are not identical. The distinctions can be seen in the members of the set of quasi governmental entities that are not Quangos. The US Federal reserve cannot be described as a "Quasi" NGO, or anything similar to it, but it is correctly listed in the quasi-governmental article. From the article on the Fed:

The Federal Reserve System is not "owned" by anyone and is not a private, profit-making institution. Instead, it is an independent entity within the government, having both public purposes and private aspects. As the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve derives its authority from the U.S. Congress

So the Fed is not in the least "non governmental", and cannot be described as quasi NGO. The "Quasi" does not necessarily describe something that is private, or otherwise partly outside of government. Quango does.
Unless there are objections, after two weeks I shall remove the suggested merge notices, and add a description of the distinction to the quasi-governmental article. I do agree that the sets have significant overlap, because the US Post or Amtrak do fit the description of Quango. Mak (talk) 17:00, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the meaning of Quasi-governmental differs greatly from the first meaning of QUANGO; it also differs subtly from the second. For example, if the Library of Congress was in the UK, it would definitely be a QUANGO, but Amtrak would be in a grey area, where some would call it a nationalised industry, and others a QUANGO. I just don't think that is a strong enough reason for us not to merge the articles, given the benefits of a merge. You are mistaken to say that "this term is not used in the UK to describe various independent governmental agencies". Not only is it used exactly this way by UK newspapers, but also by some civil servants, for example the remarkable introduction to "Public Bodies 1997" cited by the article: . The Quasi-NGO meaning could be considered archaic.
I think the international perspective a merged article could offer to readers interested in either Quasi-autonomous National Government Organization, or in Quasi-governmental Agency, would enrich their experience of reading the article and increase comprehensiveness. Anyway, I am not sure I can convince you by just describing my vision. Perhaps a mock-up of a merged article in a sandbox would enlighten the discussion. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 19:16, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I support the merge and I also think that the Federal Reserve does fit the definition of a Quango. It has powers granted by Congress, but in formal terms it is a set of privately owned corporations. I don't want to insist on this too much, just to make the point that the boundary is not clear, and that a merged article would incorporate all the cases.JQ (talk) 19:57, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
This thread continues below, at #Federal reserve system
Hroðulf- thank you for the clarification on usage. There are some important issues that are described with the terms "quango", "quasi governmental" entities, and "independent governmental agencies". I think it is a very good idea that WP have an article on the concept of "a range of organisations to which governments have devolved power".
Living in the US, I had never heard the term. I was proceeding on my reading of the meaning in this article, and missed the nuances. Living in NZ recently for 4 years- I didn't hear it there either. With just 600 google hits in the NZ domain, and 49,000 in the UK domain, I suppose that WP has the opportunity here to influence the dominant meaning as not being "Quasi"- NGO which is the common sense naive reading of the term. Original research and advancement of new concepts is not what WP is supposed to do, but since "Quasi-autonomous National Government Organization" does appear in the literature, perhaps it would be possible to highlight that sense as the only useful application of the term.
The proposed predication hiearchy is somewhat murky though. The first difficulty with "national" is that in the US there are many independent agencies at the local level- innumerable Public Utility Commissions for each locality with regulated electricity generation, and at the state level- eg the California Power Authority that Enron was making a mockery of during the California electricity crisis. I'd look forward to reading your proposed article. Possibly put it on a user subpage eg --User:Hroðulf/Quango proposal and give vistors the permission to fiddle with it to illustrate their proposed alternatives? Mak (talk) 17:05, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Dmhalko wrote: Quango .. is meaningless to American culture, and only the long form of quasi-governmental used. I would be against a merge that would shoot the reader off into an unfamiliar cultural background which would have no application in their everyday living.

I think one of the benefits of an encyclopedia is to learn the global implications and interrelationships of a concept that, at first sight, is local to the reader's own country.

Dmhalko continued: Personally I find the quango form to be a slang wordform which does not readily reveal its meaning to the reader.

It is certainly a term of art that is as opaque as any acronym. A merged article would require careful and bold explanation of the concepts, their differences and similarities, so that a reader from any country is out of their comfort zone for as short a time as possible.
--Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 13:44, 8 July 2008 (UTC)
It appears there are actually two word forms here and it is not clear to me if there is any actual difference in meaning: quasi-governmental and quasi-nongovernmental. Is there a term called Quago? DMahalko (talk) 18:00, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Very good question. There are 3 forms:

  1. Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organization
  2. Quasi-Autonomous National Government Organization
  3. Quasi-governmental organization

2 and 3 overlap greatly in meaning, but are from different countries. 2 and 3 are arms-length boards, committees and corporations created by government for some public purpose.

1 refers to independent organizations like the Red Cross that in some circumstances appear to operate under government control.

--Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 00:44, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

This article should be named Quasi-Non-Governmental Organization[edit]

In regards to this merge proposal in general, it is my belief that this article has the wrong name and if anything the merge should be going the other direction towards the other article, or even a new name. The purpose of an encyclopedia is to reveal and expose information in a clear and direct manner, rather than to hide and obscure meaning by using lingo or regional slang.

The word quango definitely hides meaning, because the word itself is neither an abbreviation nor a fully proper word in and of itself. It is really just a bastardized half-abbreviation created so as to make the phrase easily roll off the tongue. A proper abbreviation would be QNGO which might be pronounced Kango or Kengo rather than cwango. The 'ua' as in qUAngo means nothing, if all the letters are treated as an abbreviation.

For people who throw this word around all the time they may not be looking at how ridiculous this word is, a piece of jargon that has managed to become popular enough that being illegible and neither a phrase or abbreviation still renders it acceptable as a common word.

So, I would like to see this article renamed, since a formal encyclopedia should use this format:

Quasi-Non-Governmental Organization
(Redirected from Quango.)

A quasi-non-governmental organization, or Quango, is ...

DMahalko (talk) 18:01, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

I think the ridiculous nature of the word was part of the appeal, at least to the writers of Yes, Minister. By the 1990s, most dictionaries were listing it, whether as a word, an acronym, or a backronym. I don't have strong feelings about which direction the merge should go, but I must admit that my instinct is that all long forms should be mentioned in the opening sentence, and the title of the article be Quango. --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 01:03, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Federal reserve system[edit]

in response to JQ's comment above Your statement that it is a set of privately owned corporations does not square with the statement in the federal reserve article that "it is not a private, profit-making institution." Either you are wrong or the Fed article is wrong. The confusion probably has to do with the nature of the involvement of member banks, being described as holding "stock" in a Federal Reserve Bank. However- note that this stock does not confer rights of part ownership- The "stock" may not be traded privately or publically, nor do they have the ability to directly control the applicable federal reserve bank as a result of owning the stock. It is more like owning a Bond that pays 6% interest and comes along with right to vote for governors. It is a governmental representational system that allows voting rights to a narrow group of bankers who are required to take a substantial financial stake in the success of the banking system. Mak (talk) 16:07, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

The statement you refer to (quoted from a Fed Reserve FAQ) is in fact somewhat misleading, since it blurs the issues of ownership and for-profit status. The Wiki article itself is correct in stating that the Fed is a mixture of public and (at least nominally) private components. Of course, it's not appropriate for the article to point out that the Fed is fudging here, but that's the case. It's very typical of talk about quangos.JQ (talk) 20:15, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Do I understand correctly? Are we being asked accept unsupported assertion that we are being misled by an authoritative statement from an official entity concerning it's own nature? Mak (talk) 06:52, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
This is getting well off-topic, so if you want to discuss it further, maybe you should comment on my talk page. Obviously the article does not say to the readers that the FAQ is incorrect, despite the well-sourced facts in the article contradicting it. That would be WP:SYN. But I'm happy to say it here in the talk page - an authorative statement from an official entity is, in this case, misleading at best. Before you write to suggest I don't know what I'm talking about, I'll exercise an advantage of non-pseudonymity and suggest you check my wiki article. JQ (talk) 07:54, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Use "Elsewhere"[edit]

"Elsewhere" is vague - where else is the term used other than the UK and Ireland?Gymnophoria (talk) 12:14, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Arm's length[edit]

In order to grasp the meaning of the term "arm's-length bodies" as a non-native speaker, an explanation of the etymology and sense would be helpful. As far as I understand, "keeping somebody at arm's length" means "avoiding too close relations", but what is this term meant to say about quangos? Is ist positive in the sense of "avoiding too much influence of politicians and government on bodies which probably work better independently"?--Quinbus Flestrin (talk) 15:14, 12 March 2015 (UTC)


I learnt, many years ago, that there was a difference between QUANGO and QANGO - the U standing for Unelected, whihc was ladded later. The obvious question of what quasi qualifies was never really answered "Quasi- unelected -autonomous non-governmental organisation". I can find no references but will keep looking... — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2003:4E:EF1E:FC00:F5F8:6517:E8F5:5540 (talk) 13:37, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Requested move 28 July 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not Moved, clear consensus to keep as is, no votes of support. (non-admin closure) Sir Joseph (talk) 18:34, 4 August 2016 (UTC)

QuangoQuasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation – Full name, meaningful and easy to understand (see also Talk:GONGO#Requested move 28 July 2016).
Gotea Teago (talk) 15:26, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

  • Oppose per WP:COMMONNAME. Every time the term is used in a news story, it's Quango, not the full title. I disagree that's "easy to understand". Ask the average person if they've heard of the term Quango and then ask the same person to say what the acronym stands for. Compare FIFA and not Fédération Internationale de Football Association as the article title, for example. Lugnuts Dick Laurent is dead 18:22, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Clear common usage per Lugnuts, the full name will be obscure to most people. PC78 (talk) 20:44, 28 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Thanks to Lugnuts for locating the appropriate rationale at WP:COMMONNAME. This is exactly parallel to the example given for FIFA. Outside the UK, neither version will be familiar; inside the UK, quango is used without clarification. Rupert Clayton (talk) 00:30, 30 July 2016 (UTC)----
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.


I just undid a revision that removed the word "autonomous" from the initialism in the lede. It is clear that the "autonomous" was backronymed in somewhere, but it is a real part of the phenomenon, as attested by searching for "quango is short for"—9/10 of the top results include the "autonomous". It's also a key part of the quango mythos—the purported lack of accountability.

It would perhaps be best to restructure the article such that it adequately describes the history of the term and where each version is emphasized, as well as how it's been used over the years. I do not have bandwidth for such an undertaking at this time, however. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ctbeiser (talkcontribs) 05:23, 8 January 2021 (UTC)

  • I've had a go at doing the history as you suggest. It's a pejorative backronym of an originally neutral term JQ (talk) 04:36, 10 January 2021 (UTC)