Executive agency

An executive agency is a part of a government department that is treated as managerially and budgetarily separate, to carry out some part of the executive functions of the United Kingdom government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government or Northern Ireland Executive. Executive agencies are "machinery of government" devices distinct both from non-ministerial government departments and non-departmental public bodies (or "quangos"), each of which enjoy a real legal and constitutional separation from ministerial control. The model was also applied in several other countries.

Size and scope

Agencies[1] include well-known organisations such as Her Majesty's Prison Service and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. The annual budget for each agency, allocated by Her Majesty's Treasury ranges from a few million pounds for the smallest agencies to ÂŁ700m for the Court Service. Virtually all government departments have at least one agency.

Issues and reports

The initial success or otherwise of executive agencies was examined in the Sir Angus Fraser's Fraser Report of 1991. Its main goal was to identify what good practices had emerged from the new model and spread them to other agencies and departments. The report also recommended further powers be devolved from ministers to chief executives.

A series of reports and white papers examining governmental delivery were published throughout the 1990s, under both Conservative and Labour governments. During these the agency model became the standard model for delivering public services in the United Kingdom. By 1997 76% of civil servants were employed by an agency. The new Labour government in its first such report – the 1998 Next Steps Report endorsed the model introduced by its predecessor. The most recent review (in 2002, linked below) made two central conclusions (their emphasis):

" The agency model has been a success. Since 1988 agencies have transformed the landscape of government and the responsive and effectiveness of services delivered by Government."
" Some agencies have, however, become disconnected from their departments ... The gulf between policy and delivery is considered by most to have widened."

The latter point is usually made more forcefully by Government critics, describing agencies as "unaccountable quangos".

List by department

Attorney General's Office

  • HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate

Cabinet Office

Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Ministry for Housing,Communities and Local Government

  • Valuation Tribunal for England

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

Department for Education

  • Ofqual
  • Ofsted
  • Education and Skills Funding Agency
  • National College for Teaching and Leadership
  • Standards and Testing Agency
  • Construction Industry Training Board
  • Engineering Construction Industry Training Board
  • Equality and Human Rights Commission
  • Higher Education Funding Council for England
  • Institute for Apprenticeships
  • Office for Fair Access
  • Office of the Children's Commissioner
  • Student Loans Company
  • School Teachers' Review Body
  • Social Mobility Commission
  • Government Equalities Office
  • Office of the Schools Adjudicator

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

  • Forestry Commission
    • Forestry England
    • Forest Research
  • The Water Services Regulation Authority
  • Animal and Plant Health Agency
  • Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
  • Rural Payments Agency
  • Veterinary Medicines Directorate
  • Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
  • Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
  • Consumer Council for Water
  • Environment Agency
  • Joint Nature Conservation Committee
  • Marine Management Organisation
  • National Forest Company
  • Natural England
  • Sea Fish Industry Authority
  • Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment
  • Independent Agricultural Appeals Panel
  • Science Advisory Council
  • Veterinary Products Committee
  • Plant Varieties and Seeds Tribunal
  • Broads Authority
  • Covent Garden Market Authority
  • Dartmoor National Park Authority
  • Drinking Water Inspectorate
  • Exmoor National Park Authority
  • Lake District National Park Authority
  • New Forest National Park Authority
  • North York Moors National Park Authority
  • Northumberland National Park Authority
  • Peak District National Park Authority
  • South Downs National Park Authority
  • UK Co-ordinating Body
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

Department for Exiting the European Union

Department for International Development

  • Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK
  • Independent Commission for Aid Impact

Department for International Trade

Department for Transport

  • Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee
  • Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain

Department for Work and Pensions

  • Disabled People’s Employment Corporation
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) Corporation
  • The Pensions Advisory Service
  • The Pensions Regulator
  • Industrial Injuries Advisory Council
  • Social Mobility Commission
  • Social Security Advisory Committee
  • Pension Protection Fund Ombudsman
  • Pensions Ombudsman
  • Office for Nuclear Regulation
  • Pension Protection Fund
  • Independent Case Examiner

Department of Health

  • Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency
  • Public Health England
  • Care Quality Commission
  • Health Education England
  • Health Research Authority
  • Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
  • Human Tissue Authority
  • NHS Blood and Transplant
  • NHS Business Services Authority
  • NHS Digital
  • NHS England
  • NHS Litigation Authority
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence
  • Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards
  • British Pharmacopoeia Commission
  • Commission on Human Medicines
  • Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment
  • Independent Reconfiguration Panel
  • NHS Pay Review Body
  • Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration
  • Accelerated Access Review
  • Morecambe Bay Investigation
  • NHS Improvement
  • National Data Guardian
  • National Information Board
  • Porton Biopharma Limited

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

  • British Council
  • Great Britain-China Centre
  • Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission
  • Westminster Foundation for Democracy
  • BBC World Service

HM Treasury

  • Government Internal Audit Agency
  • UK Debt Management Office
  • Office for Budget Responsibility
  • Royal Mint Advisory Committee
  • The Crown Estate
  • Financial Conduct Authority
  • National Infrastructure Commission
  • Payment Systems Regulator
  • Royal Mint
  • UK Financial Investments Limited
  • UK Government Investments

Home Office

  • Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs
  • Animals in Science Committee
  • Biometrics and Forensics Ethics Group
  • Migration Advisory Committee
  • Police Advisory Board for England and Wales
  • Police Remuneration Review Body
  • Technical Advisory Board
  • Investigatory Powers Tribunal
  • Office of Surveillance Commissioners
  • Police Discipline Appeals Tribunal
  • Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner
  • Biometrics Commissioner
  • Forensic Science Regulator
  • Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services
  • Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration
  • Independent Family Returns Panel
  • Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation
  • Intelligence Services Commissioner
  • Interception of Communications Commissioner
  • National Counter Terrorism Security Office
  • National Crime Agency Remuneration Review Body
  • The Security Service
  • Surveillance Camera Commissioner

Ministry of Defence

  • Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors
  • Armed Forces' Pay Review Body
  • Defence Nuclear Safety Committee
  • Independent Medical Expert Group
  • National Employer Advisory Board
  • Nuclear Research Advisory Council
  • Scientific Advisory Committee on the Medical Implications of Less-Lethal Weapons
  • Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committees
  • The Oil and Pipelines Agency
  • Central Advisory Committee on Compensation
  • Advisory Group on Military Medicine
  • Defence Academy of the United Kingdom
  • Defence Sixth Form College
  • Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee
  • Fleet Air Arm Museum
  • Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Associations
  • Royal Marines Museum
  • Royal Navy Submarine Museum
  • Service Complaints Ombudsman
  • Service Prosecuting Authority
  • United Kingdom Reserve Forces Association
  • United Kingdom Special Forces Association

Ministry of Justice

  • Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority
  • HM Courts & Tribunals Service
  • HM Prison Service
  • Legal Aid Agency
  • Office of the Public Guardian
  • Cafcass
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission
  • Judicial Appointments Commission
  • Legal Services Board
  • Parole Board
  • Youth Justice Board for England and Wales
  • Advisory Committees on Justices of the Peace
  • Civil Justice Council
  • Civil Procedure Rule Committee
  • Criminal Procedure Rule Committee
  • Family Justice Council
  • Family Procedure Rule Committee
  • Independent Advisory Panel on Deaths in Custody
  • Law Commission
  • Prison Service Pay Review Body
  • Sentencing Council for England and Wales
  • Tribunal Procedure Committee
  • Academy for Social Justice Commissioning
  • HM Inspectorate of Prisons
  • HM Inspectorate of Probation
  • Independent Monitoring Boards
  • Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman
  • Judicial Office
  • The Legal Ombudsman
  • Official Solicitor and Public Trustee
  • Prisons and Probation Ombudsman
  • Victims' Commissioner

Northern Ireland Office

  • Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
  • Parades Commission for Northern Ireland
  • Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland

Office of the Advocate General for Scotland

Office of the Leader of the House of Commons

Office of the Leader of the House of Lords

Office of the Secretary of State for Wales

Scotland Office

  • Boundary Commission for Scotland

UK Export Finance

  • Export Guarantees Advisory Council

Non ministerial departments

  • The Charity Commission
  • Competition and Markets Authority
  • Crown Prosecution Service
  • Food Standards Agency
    • Advisory Committee on Animal Feedingstuffs
    • Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes
    • Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food
    • Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment
    • Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment
    • General Advisory Committee on Science
    • Social Science Research Committee
  • Government Actuary's Department
  • Government Legal Department
  • HM Land Registry
  • HM Revenue & Customs
    • Valuation Office
    • The Adjudicator’s Office
  • NS&I
  • The National Archives
  • National Crime Agency
  • Office of Rail and Road
  • Ofgem
  • Ofqual
  • Ofsted
  • Ordnance Survey
  • Serious Fraud Office
  • Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
  • UK Statistics Authority
    • Office for National Statistics
  • The Water Services Regulation Authority

Other countries

Several other countries have an executive agency model.

In the United States, the Clinton administration imported the model, but with a modification of the name to "performance-based organizations."[2]

In Canada, executive agencies were adopted on a limited basis under the name "special operating agencies."[3]

Executive agencies were also established in Australia, Jamaica, Japan and Tanzania.

See also


  1. ^ Cabinet Office - UK Government executive agencies (Archived Page, retrieved 29 August 2014)
  2. ^ Roberts, Alasdair. Performance-Based Organizations: Assessing the Gore Plan. Public Administration Review, Vol. 57, No. 6, pp. 465-478, December 1997.
  3. ^ Roberts, Alasdair. Public Works and Government Services: Beautiful Theory Meets Ugly Reality. HOW OTTAWA SPENDS, G. Swimmer, ed., pp. 171-203 Ottawa: Carleton University Press, 1996

External links