Quangocrat elite cost taxpayers £124m in pay and perks

Embargoed: 00:01 Tuesday 6 October 2020


New research from the TaxPayers’ Alliance has revealed that the annual cost of quango board members was almost £124 million, with some collecting multiple pay packets by sitting on different boards.  

Analysis of 2018-19 figures - the most recent year for which full data is available - found that at least 319 quango board members sat on more than one board, often with no relevance to each other. One person sat on five boards, taking home around £60,000 in total remuneration. 

The report also suggests that executives have spread themselves too thin, with more than one in ten meetings missed. For example, Duncan Selbie, chief executive and accounting officer of failed quango Public Health England and member of two additional boards received £187,500 total remuneration from PHE, but only attended just over half of the management meetings.

Quangos hold significant decision-making responsibilities and are funded by taxpayers, yet their board members come from a narrow pool of appointees and do not represent the balance of views in Britain.  



Key Findings:

  • The total remuneration of all quango board members was at least £123,544,475 in 2018-19.

  • There were at least 4,345 positions on the boards of quangos in 2018-19. At the same time, the total number of staff in quangos had reached 299,171.

  • At least 319 quango board members sat on more than one board: one person sat on five boards, 11 on four boards, 47 on three boards, and 260 on two boards.

  • Shrinivas Honap sat on five quango boards, the largest number. These included: the British Transport Police Authority, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Low Level Waste Repository Ltd, UK Atomic Energy Authority and the Office of the Public Guardian. His total remuneration was £60,000, including £1,200 in allowances.

  • Susan Johnson OBE sat on four quango boards. These included the Health and Safety Executive, Planning Inspectorate and Sports Ground Safety Authority, as well as being a Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She received total remuneration of £48,992, including £2,072 in benefits.

  • Duncan Selbie sat on three boards, including the Advisory Committee on Clinical Excellence Awards and the National Information Board. He was also the chief executive and accounting officer of Public Health England where despite receiving a total remuneration of £187,500 he only attended 6 of 11 meetings.

  • Of the 17,600 board meetings in 2018-19, more than one in ten were missed.

  • Benefits for board members included a £400 “reading allowance” for Caroline Corby for her role as a member of the Architects Registration Board; £3,500 for the provision of a lease car to Andrew Flanagan; and £3,300 in benefit for the chief executive of Wilton Park receiving a rent free cottage in the grounds.




John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

"The well-paid public sector elite which runs Britain's quangos have long given up on representing taxpayers.

"Many will wonder what qualifies this narrow coterie of quangocrats to decide on transport policy one day, then criminal justice and nuclear regulation the next, all while enjoying ludicrous pay and perks.

"It's high time we clean up the state by ending the appointments merry-go-round and get on with scrapping the quangos that veer off course."


TPA spokesmen are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)


Media contact:

Danielle Boxall
Media Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
[email protected]
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)


Notes to editors:

  1. Founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) campaigns to reform taxes and public services, cut waste and speak up for British taxpayers. Find out more at www.taxpayersalliance.com.

  2. TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.

  3. The last ‘Members of the Board’ paper can be found here.
  4. The TaxPayers' Alliance has launched the Clean Up The State campaign.
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