The term ‘quasi-government’ refers to both the government-created and semiprivate organisations which both are distinct from, but usually relate to, either central departments or local authorities. As a field of study, quasi-government is both complex and confusing, being partly public and partly private, voluntary or commercial. So great are the number and variety of organisations included within it that generalisations, definitions and classifications are fraught with difficulty. Even terminology is a problem. The organisations comprising quasi-government are referred to by a variety of terms: ‘fringe bodies’, ‘non-departmental public bodies’, ‘semi-autonomous authorities’ and ‘quangos’, to name but a few. This latter term, ‘quangos’, has now become common parlance as an umbrella beneath which a wide variety of organisations shelter.