An executive agency is part of a government department, but its budget and management are treated separately. Executive agencies carry out specific executive services or functions, but cannot set policy or make decisions about resources.
Their chief executives perform the role of accounting officer, which means they are responsible for the money spent by their organisations. Staff employed by agencies are civil servants.
A learned society is an organisation whose main purpose is to advance a particular branch of academic knowledge or foster professional expertise. Its membership must be restricted wholly or mainly to people whose employment is, or has been, directly connected with its aims.
Government Owned Contractor Operated (GOCO)
Under GOCO arrangements, the government owns the site and facilities of an organisation, but its operations are performed by a contractor.
Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB)
Assembly Sponsored Public Body (in Wales)
An NDPB is a body which plays a role in the processes of government, although is not part of a government department. It operates at arm’s length from ministers, although ministers are ultimately responsible to Parliament for the activities of NDPBs sponsored by their department.
All NDPBs must follow the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) code of practice when making board member appointments.
There are three types of NDPB within DIUS: advisory, executive and tribunal:
Advisory NDPBs provide independent and expert advice to ministers on specific topics. They do not usually have their own budget, as their costs are met from their department’s expenditure. They usually receive administrative support from their sponsoring department instead of employing their own staff.
Executive NDPBs are established by statute and carry out administrative, regulatory and commercial functions. They employ their own staff and are allocated their own budgets. All executive NDPBs are subject to external audit.
Tribunal NDPBs have jurisdiction in a specialised field of law. They are usually supported by staff from their sponsoring department and do not have their own budgets.
Non-ministerial Government Department (NMGD)
Most NMGDs are tasked with implementing legislation which they have no power to change. They are set up under legislation and draw their powers from that legislation. The budgets of NMGDs are usually set by the Treasury, not by the department which set them up, and they are often funded by licence fees paid by the industries which they regulate. The work of the NMGD is subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.
Private Company Limited by Guarantee
A private company limited by guarantee consists of members who do not make any contribution to the capital during the company’s lifetime as they do not purchase shares. The members’ liability is limited to the amount that they each agree to contribute to the company’s assets if it is wound up.
Private Limited Company
A private limited company has a share capital and the liability of each member is limited to the amount unpaid on shares that a member holds. A private company cannot offer its shares for sale to the general public.
Public Private Partnership (PPP)
PPPs are arrangements typified by joint working between the public and private sector. PPPs can cover all types of collaboration between the public and private sectors to deliver policies, services and infrastructure.
Charities are non-profit making organisations that operate for the public benefit. They receive their income from individual and corporate donations, as well as through other types of fundraising. Most charities in England and Wales are regulated by the Charity Commission. Registered charities are required by law to provide certain documents to the Commission and to keep their information on the public Register up to date.
Royal Charter Body
A Royal Charter is given by a monarch to legitimise an incorporated body, such as a city, company or university and to define their privileges and purpose. In the Commonwealth a Royal Charter is a charter granted by the sovereign on the advice of the Privy Council, which creates or gives special status to an incorporated body.
Trading Funds are part of government, but have different finance arrangements from other centrally-funded departments and agencies. They are arms-length trading organisations, with a duty to observe specific financial targets set by the Treasury. The finances of their particular activities are separated from general taxation revenue.
Task forces, ad-hoc advisory groups and reviews
Task forces, ad-hoc advisory groups and reviews are usually created to give expert advice to the government on a specific issue. They have a short-term focus and when their work comes to an end, they are disbanded. Normally, they exist for less than two years. Their recommendations are often taken forward by other parts of government.