NATIONAL opinion polls may make depressing reading for the Conservatives, but they still have the majority on quangos, whether they are university governing bodies or health trusts.
Tony McWalter, an elected staff governor of Hertfordshire University and a Labour supporter, says quango boards are filled with people with business experience. Writing in the first edition of The Stakeholder, launched this week for members and staff of public bodies, he says that as a staff governor he is excluded from employment, pay or finance decisions. Yet he is one of the few governors with a democratic mandate or a career commitment to higher education.
The Stakeholder has been launched by Chris Price, former vice chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University. Mr Price said that Lord Nolan's Committee on Standards in Public Life had drawn attention to the need for quangos to improve given the money they spend. In a feature on the Pounds 3.6 billion the Higher Education Funding Council for England spends, Brian Fender, chief executive, said that his "biggest self-criticism" was not encouraging more collaboration between institutions and "stakeholders".
The Stakeholder, Department of Public Policy, University of Central England, Birmingham B42 2SU, 0121 331 6608, fax 6622.