(2) Who has power in the Executive? Continued

Marcus  Danvers
Mind Map by , created almost 6 years ago

A level Governing the UK - 2C (PM, Cabinet and the Executive) Mind Map on (2) Who has power in the Executive? Continued, created by Marcus Danvers on 01/09/2014.

Marcus  Danvers
Created by Marcus Danvers almost 6 years ago
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(2) Who has power in the Executive? Continued
1 Difference between Ministers and Civil servants
1.1 Ministers
1.1.1 Are expected to run government departments, to make policy and oversee the work of civil servants. They must be appointed by the Prime Minister, be an MP or a peer. This is what constitutes the UK system as a parliamentary executive.
1.1.2 There is a hierarchy of ministers: Secretaries of State In charge of running government departments an example is Chancellor of the Exchequer heads HM Treasury Ministers of the State Junior to SS but senior to other ministers an example is Chief Secretary to the Treasury Parliamentary under-secretaries of state Junior to MS May serve on Cabinet Committees Parliamentary Private Secretaries Unpaid ‘eyes & ears’ for senior ministers, Not members of the government
1.2 Civil servants
1.2.1 by contrast, are appointed government officials. They provide ministers with policy advice and implement government policy. Civil servants must abide by three traditional principles, which are to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of policy-making: Permanence – remain in post as ministers and governments come and go Neutrality – expected to be loyal and supportive of any government Anonymity – ‘nameless’ in the sense that they are not public figures
1.2.2 What are the advantages of ‘permanent’ civil servants Accumulate expertise & specialist knowledge Neutral policy advice rather than politically-biased advice However, alternative sources of advice are available (political advisors, think-tanks).
2 Symbol of collective government
2.1 Regular meetings give the impression of a collective ‘face’ of government
2.2 Underpins the convention of collective ministerial responsibility
2.3 E.g. James Purnell, former Work & Pensions Secretary, resigned in 2009 because he felt he could no longer publically support Gordon Brown
2.4 If the PM loses a Parliamentary vote of no confidence, the entire cabinet must step down (James Callaghan, 1979)
3 Cabinet Committees
3.1 Smaller groups or relevant ministers
3.2 More efficient
3.3 Saves time – as government now so wide reaching
3.4 PM chooses who chairs (can be himself) and who forms the group
3.5 Blair showed a preference for decision making in informal groups
4 But the role of the two become blurred in practice
4.1 Ministers could not make all policy decisions… so in practice, made ‘major’ decisions (e.g. significant impact, politically controversial, public spending)
4.2 Ministers’ policy decision largely based on advice received from civil servants… which meant in practice their formal responsibility for policy-making was misleading
4.3 Civil servants controlled what information was passed onto ministers
4.4 Civil servants may have been politically biased – influenced by ‘conservative veto group’ until changes in 1980s – led to senior civil servants becoming ‘one of us’ & access to alternative sources of advice. Argued the civil service has too little power, rather than too much.

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