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Flashcards in Governmnet Ministers Deck (25)
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Approximately how many senior government members

What does this compose of


Cabinet ministers
Ministers of state
Parliamentary under-secretaries


Due to the volume of work in departments

What is there

Layers of ministers

-junior ministers
-parliamentary private secretaries


What are civil servants
What do they do

They aid ministers
Organise diary, write letters, draft replies to parliamentary questions, offer advice and research issues


What are some of the roles of the minister

-politician with duties in cabinet and parliament
-normal MPs
-speak in HoC debates
-appear before select committees
-question time
-administrator of a large Whitehall department


What are some of the limitations on ministerial power

-They are outnumbered by senior officials (6/7 to 1)
-can lack objectives and priorities
-many demands on their power
-dependant on what their officials tell them or what data they are presented


What are the two main features of the convention which defines the relationship with ministers and their department

1) ministers are responsible to parliament for their policies of their department (must inform, explain and take responsibility)

2)implies that civil servants are responsible to ministers, they should be loyal and supportive of the minister


Describe the crichel down affair (1954)

Political scandal about a patch of land in Dorset
Inquiry over govt conduct was held and the report was damming
Led to them minister of agriculture resigning
Set a precedent on ministerial responsibility


Describe the welfare reforms

Secretary of state for work and pensions brought about large scale welfare reforms

He resigned in March 2016
Couldn’t accept the govts planned cuts to disability benefits


Name a minister who has resisted

Jacqui Smith


Give an example of a minister who resigned

Edwina Currie (salmonella in eggs)


Name a minister who resigned for personal reasons

Ron Davies


Evaluate IMR

It’s a grey area much depends on the ministers popularity with media n the party and the PM

Therefore IMR still exists however most ministers usually resign of personal reasons


What are the two roles of the civil servants

To provide ministers with policy advice

To implement government policy


What do the three principles for civil servants to abide by date back too

The northcote-Trevelyne reforms in the 19th C


What are the civil servants three core principles



explain permanence

Civil servants remain in post even though ministers and PMs come and go


Explain neutrality

Civil servants must be loyal and supportive of any minister and any governance

They are politically unbiased


Explain anonymity

Civil servants are nameless
Not public figures and are not accountable to the public for their mistakes


What is the purpose of the three core principles

Designed to improve the efficiency of govt and the effectiveness of policy making

The allows for civil servants to become specialists and provide neutral advice


How are some conservative civil servants biased

Influenced by their class and background


How has civil servants and ministers changed since the 1980s

Reduced the reliance that minister had on civil servants

Provide alternate sources of advice (think tanks, special advisors...)

Encourage recruitment from a diverse range of people


What is the traditional public administration model

Ministers decide on issues based on ADVICE from civil servants

Reinforced by idea of individual ministerial responsibility - minister has lead role


What is the adversarial model

Put forward by Critics on the left
Civil servants are powerful (upper class) who use their connections to challenge ministers

Power struggle


What is the Whitehall community model

Minister/ civil servants is an alliance of mutual interest


CS have expertise n connections and Ministers have political judgements etc


What is the public choice model

New right critique of public sector

Beurocracies are innefficient or wasteful

Civil servants main interest is to expand the public sector