Sunday, 17 October 2010

Seeking Help

The Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group (TPIAG) is one of the quangos destined for the bin. No matter it didn't do much. It was established in 2000 with the task of advising the Government on how it could reduce the teenage pregnancy rate by 50% by 2010. It is now 2010 and the rate has fallen by about 10%. So no success story.

When trying to find out, though, how much this body costs I came across a statement from the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools, Diana Johnson. The statement was a written answer given to Mr Laws on the 8 July 2009. Regarding the TPIAG she told the Commons:
The body does not employ any staff.
This got me curious. Were all its members volunteers? Not according to records from the Department for Children Schools and Families. In its 2009 report it states that between April 2008 and March 2009 Lucy Russell was appointed as a board member of TPIAG with pay of £114 per day for 2 years. Its 2008 report states that between January 2007 and March 2008 5 staff members were employed for three years at a rate of £114 per day.

So when Ms Johnson stated that the body did not employ any staff, at least 6 people were being paid to be members of the group. They weren't volunteers. But if they were not employed by the "body" then who were they employed by? And how independent can they have been?

Can anyone shed any light on this?

UPDATE: Thanks to the folk at the TaxPayers' Alliance for their help. It seems that the amount cited is not pay but expenses for one-off days when meetings are held. The members of the body are employed by some other organisation (ie not the government department) and not by the body.

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