This entry was posted on Thursday, October 14th, 2010 at 2:58 pm and is filed under Bicycle advocacy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
Getting rid of Cycling England is stupid on lots of levels, as I’ve written about elsewhere today.
But something I’d not considered until now was how the fractional nature of cycling can be a time drain.
The Department for Transport benefitted big-time from the creation of Cycling England. Now there was one body to talk to, not dozens.
Cycling England’s board was made up from representatives of British Cycling, Sustrans, CTC and other experts.
Without Cycling England, the DfT might have to start talking with dozens of cycling bodies again.
This is put very well by management consultant and photographer, Guy Swarbrick:
In terms of accountability, all the money that Cycling England spent was spent on behalf of other Departments - Transport and Health primarily - and was allocated on a project-by-project basis with Departmental - and, therefore ministerial and accountable - approval required. But it was requested by and allocated by experts - not civil servants and politicians.
Schemes like Bikeability can be - and are - delivered locally. But the cost savings from creating a centralised scheme with centralised documentation, literature etc is just one, small example of the kind of centralised purchasing benefit Philip Green highlighted in his recent report.
Cost benefits aren’t the only advantage of quangoes, of course. The Departments of Transport and Health have been happy to have regular meetings with Cycling England to discuss dozens of topics, with CE acting as an aggregator for the views of cyctling bodies. Will they be willing to have dozens of meetings with smaller interest groups or local authorities? I don’t think so. If they did, it would have a cost and it would require a level of expertise across a breadth of topics that the department is unlikley to have.
I use Cycling England as an example - because you did - but it is typical of many, if not most, of the organizations being dismantled for knee jerk ideological reasons.
No increase in accountability and worse decisions at a higher cost? Don’t blame me. I didn’t vote for them.