The Government's proposals
80. The Government's consultation paper proposes
that the new statistics office should be established as a non-ministerial
department (NMD), "ceasing to report to, and through, a Minister".
The consultation paper explains:
NMDs are departments in their own right, established
to deliver a specific function; part of government, but independent
of Ministers. The precise nature of relationships between NMDs
and Ministers vary according to the individual policy and statutory
frameworks, but the general rationale is to remove day-to-day
administration from ministerial control.
81. The Cabinet Office identified a total of 20 non-ministerial
departments as at 8 May 2006.
The Government made specific reference in its consultation paper
to the Food Standards Agency, the Charity Commission, the Office
for Fair Trading (OFT), the Office for Standards in Education
(Ofsted) and the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem)
as examples of non-ministerial departments.
Each of these non-ministerial departments retains a relationship
with a particular department and minister. During a recent House
of Lords debate, the Government again drew a parallel between
its proposals for an independent statistics office and the Ofsted
model. Box 6 details
governance arrangements at Ofsted.
Box 6: Governance of Ofsted