Mind Map on "Civil Servants, not ministers, are the main policy makers within the core excecutive." Discuss., created by Amber Turley on 04/17/2015.
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"Civil Servants, not ministers,
are the main policy makers
within the core excecutive."
1 The traditional Formal
Constitutional Model (Kevin
Theakson) behind the
ministers and civil servants
is the that, the civil servant
advises, the minister
1.1 This theory is based on the
expertise the civil servants have
their department, as they know all
of the facts they need to advise the
minister on policies; however, it is
down to the minister to make the
1.1.1 In the end, it is the minister who is
ACCOUNTABLE for the policy, not the civil
2 The civil service is the state bureaucracy and
exists to administer government.
3 Civil servants are meant to be impartial;
however, as nearly all of the senior civil
servants are white men with Oxbridge degrees,
many Labour ministers have complained about
the intrinsic conservatism of the civil service.
4 Mandarins (the most senior civil servants)
spend most of their career in one department
and their roles include : preparing legislation,
implementing policy, administering their
department and managing their departmental
5 There is a set hierarchy in each department,
starting with a permanent secretary, then
deputy secretary, then under-secretary and so
5.1 Civil servants keep their position regardless of
changes in Government
6 Civil Servants sign the Official Secrets Act which
enables their advice to be CONFIDENTIAL and
UNKNOWN to the public.
6.1 This is because civil servants are meant to give
their advice in PRIVATE and remain
ANONYMOUS; however it is now the case that
civil servants can now be blamed for bad advice
as their advice is being made public.
6.1.1 Example: David Kelly, a civil servant of the MoD, was blamed
forgiving wrong advice on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass
destruction. The release of his name resulted in him committing
22.214.171.124 22000 civil servants in the MoD. There are about 6-7 ministers. This clearly
shows the greater size of the civil service in comparison to the ministers.
126.96.36.199 Civil servants do not write memoirs after
they retire like most ministers do as they
have to keep their advice private due to this
6.1.2 Coalition ministers, such as Teresa May, the Home Secretary, have blamed
civil servants for policy errors. In her case, she blamed her civil servants for
the mistakes over the deportation of Abu Qatada (a terrorist suspect.)
188.8.131.52 She should have taken the blame, not the civil servants.
184.108.40.206.1 Civil servants can't defend themselves once they have been blamed.
7 The role of civil servants is very
different to that of a minister.
7.1 Ministers have to decide on
government priorities, allocate funds
to tackle problems within their
department, create green and white
papers, defend their policies in the
Commons and in the media whilst
piloting their legislation through
7.1.1 Ministers also have to find time for their
constituents if he/she wants to retain
their seat at the next election!
8 The relationship between ministers and civil servants.
8.1 The Adversarial model.
8.1.1 Defined by the relationship
of conflict between the two.
220.127.116.11 In this relationship, the minister may chose to
ignore or listen to the civil service advice so it is
actually unknown who makes the decision here as
it depends on who has the most power at the
18.104.22.168.1 Labour ministers in the 60s and 70s such as Richard Crossman and Tony Benn complained
that civil servants sought to undermine and plot against left-leaning governments
supporting radical changes.
22.214.171.124.1.1 Recently, Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister in David Cameron's government, has
accused civil servants of blocking initiatives agreed by ministers.
8.2 Other than the relationship between the key players, there are also
other things which determine who makes the decisions.
8.2.1 There are many advantages that the civil service have over the ministers.
126.96.36.199 This would seem to show that it is the civil service making the decisions.
188.8.131.52.1 The civil service stays anonymous from any decisions made.
Therefore, this means that they cannot be blamed as the public do
not know about their input or importance in the decision making
process. Increasingly, however, ministers are willing to blame civil
servants for policy failures, such as Ed Balls and Teresa May.
8.3 There is the power struggle between ministers
and civil servants due to civil servants knowing
the facts about their departments as they are in
the same job for the majority of their carreer.
8.3.1 This is a huge advantage over the ministers as the
average length of service for ministers in deartments
is 2 years.
8.3.2 Civil servants can use their expertise and experience
to influence decisions whereas the minister knows
much less and looks for support from his collegues.
This is also an extreamely importnat advantage that
the civil servant has over the minister as the minister
wats his guidance and expertise within the
184.108.40.206 However, many very senior civil servants
have stepped down.
220.127.116.11.1 This began when Gordon Brown was chancellor because some
mandarins felt excluded, others found that working with him and his
18.104.22.168.1.1 The steam of departures has continued , encouraged by redundancy
terms that persuaded some of the best economic brains to pursue
22.214.171.124.1.1.1 In some cases, therefore the minister can outlive the civil servants in
their department, for example Gordon Brown was chancellor for 10
years, he had 3 permanent secretaries, meaning that he had more
expertise in the department than the mandarins. In this case, it shows
how Brown was the main decision maker as he knew more about his
department and how it worked.
126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52 Civil servants are also under a lot of pressure than the minister
as they have fewer obs to do and more time to do them.
184.108.40.206.2 Historically, civil servants
were in permanent jobs and
so could not be removed
easily by the minister.
However, recent reforms
have weakened civil servants
in respect of their relation to
220.127.116.11.2.1 In 1996, the top 1% of those in the civil service
were given a new category.. Manderins were
placed on personal contracts with flexible
18.104.22.168.2.1.1 It would be silly for those in such positions to do anything that endangered theirposition in the civil service.
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199 Therefore, the government has made the mandarins in the civil service nothing more than political poodles. However, as the civil servant is
not responsible for any decisions made, they can influence, if not make any decisions in any way they wantwithout risking their job.
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.1 The coalition government attempted to address this by introducing performance-related pay into the civil service. In addition, the coalition has also
put 10% of civil service staff on annual probation thus strengtheing the hand of ministers.
9 The are however, many advantages
that the minister has over their civil
9.1 Being that the minister can decide to
ignore all advice given to him by the civil
9.1.1 An example of this is when Michael Gove ignored his civil
servants' advice in making reforms in the Education Department.
He has brought in a superstructure of special advisors into the
department which has enabled him to bypass civil servants.
10 Another advantage
ministers have over their
civil servants is the fact
that ministers now have
political advisors as well.
10.1 This further widens the relationship between
the minister and the civil servants in his
department as the minister ccan gain advice
from other places.
10.1.1 There was a huge growth of special advisers under Labour: under John
Major he had 8 special advisers in No 10 and Blair had 27. This is another
factor which strengthens the minister and ensures that he is the key player
in making policy and decisions in departments.
10.1.1.1 Special advisers continued to grow under the coalition.
In addition, the coalition has talked about out-sourcing
policy making to think tanks and academics.
10.1.1.1.1 This has angered mandarins. Under proposals initiated by
Francis Maude, ministers will be able to turn to bodies outside
of Whitehall to draw up detailed policy recommendations. This
is further evidence that it is not civil servants who make policy
decisions in Government.
11 An advantage for the
minister is political
11.1 For example, if they
have a strong
personality such as:
Denis Healy or
Gordon Brown, they
can gain control the
actions of their civil
11.1.1 Also, if the minister is part
of a newly-elected
government, he can assert
himself over his civil
servants. Many civil servants
have struggled with driven
and focused ministers who
are impatient for change
220.127.116.11 Sir Terry Burns, Permanent Secretary for the Treasury, for
example, retired in 1998 because of Gordon Brown's
leadership style and the role of Ed Balls as his special
adviser. Burns felt marginalised.