Prime Minister, Cabinet and Ministers

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  • Prime Minister, Cabinet and Ministers
    • Executive
      • Responsible for the implementation of laws and policies made by parliament
        • Impacts the public
      • Extends from the prime minster to members of the enforcement agencies
        • Police
        • Military
      • Two parts of executive
        • Political Executive
          • The government of the day
            • Ministers
          • Responsible for the direction and co-ordination of government policy
        • Official Executive
          • Bureaucracy
            • The administrative machinery of government
          • Composed of civil servants
            • Provide policy advice
            • Implement government policy
    • Prime Minister
      • Becoming the Prime Minister
        • Prime Ministers must be MPs
          • All prime ministers sit in the House of Commons
        • They must be a Party Leader
          • Prime ministers are appointed as a result of being elected as leader of their parties
        • His or Her Party Usually has Majority Control of the House of Commons
          • Most prime ministers come to power as result of general election victories
            • Except hung parliaments
          • Most leave office as a result of election defeats
      • Role of the Prime Minister
        • Traditional View
          • First
          • Primary representative of governemnt
            • In relation to the monarch
            • Consulted about all significant policy issues
        • Modern View
          • Making Governments
            • Prime ministers are appointed by the Queen
              • The prime minister appoints all other members of the government
            • The power to hire and fire cabinet members and other ministers
              • Control over careers of their MPs and peers
          • Directing Government Policy
            • Central figure of core executive
              • Core executive is an informal network of bodies and actors that play a key role in the policy process
            • Sets the overall direction of government policy and defines its strategic goals
              • The prime minister can interfere in any aspect of policy
          • Managing the Cabinet System
            • Chairs cabinet meetings
            • Determines their number and their length
            • Sets up and staffs cabinet committees
          • Organising Government
            • Responsible for the structure and organisation of government
              • Setting up, reorganising and abolishing government departments
              • Responsible for the civil service
          • Controlling Parliament
            • Controls the lower chamber
              • Limited in the event of a hung parliament
          • Providing National Leadership
            • The prime ministers authority is based on being elected by the people
            • Most important during national crisis, war or major events
    • The Cabinet
      • The Cabinet
        • Committee of the leading members of the government
          • 20-23 formal members
          • Most are secretaries of state responsible for running Whitehall departments
        • Kitchen Cabinet
          • Chancellor of the Exchequer
          • Foreign secretary
          • Home secretary
          • Deputy prime minister
            • A senior cabinet minister who acts for the PM in absence
      • Role of the Cabinet
        • Formal Policy Approval
          • Meaningful debate and the formulation of policy decisions take place elsewhere
            • They must be approved by the government to become official
            • The prime minister can make major policy decisions without consulting the cabinet
        • Policy Coordination
          • Ensure that ministers know what is going on in other departments
          • Reconcile the reponsibilities of ministers for their individual departments with their responsibilities to the government as a whole
          • Joins up the government as a senior level
        • Resolve Disputes
          • Serves as a final court of appeal for disagreements that can't be resolved elsewhere
        • Forum for Debate
          • Can be used by the prime minister and other ministers as a sounding board to raise issues and stimulate discussion
            • Limited
              • Cabinet agendas are full and usually is dominated by government business
        • Party Management
          • When considering policy they take into account the views and moral of the parliamentary party
            • Chief whip attends cabinet meetings
        • Symbol of Collective Government
          • Regular cabinet meetings
            • Major policies are approved
              • Main collective face
                • Regular cabinet meetings
                  • Major policies are approved
                    • Main collective face
        • Theory vs Practice
          • In theory the cabinet is the top body in the UK executive
          • In practice the prime minster has taken over this role
      • Minister and Cabinets
        • Individual Ministerial Responsibility
          • Defines the relationship between ministers and their deparments
          • Ministers are responsible to Parliament for the policies and actions of their departments
            • Inform and explain during Question Time and select committees
            • Resignation in the event of blunders or policy failures
              • The ministers take responsibility for the mistakes of their civil servants
          • Civil servants are responsible to their ministers
            • Civil servants should be loyal and supprtive
              • If they hace ethical concerns about a ministers conduct they should talk to the cabinet secretary
        • Minister
          • Expected to run governments departments
            • They make policy and oversee the work of civil servants
          • Appointed by the prime minster
          • All ministers must be MPs or peers
        • Hierarchy of Ministers
          • Secretaries of State
            • Cabinet ministers in charge of a government department
          • Ministers of State
            • Junior to secretaries of state
            • Not usually in the cabinet
          • Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State
            • Junior to ministers of state
            • Not members of the cabinet
              • They serve on cabinet committees
          • Parliamentary Private Secretaries
            • Unpaid "eyes and ears" for senior ministers
              • They aren't official members of the government
        • Civil Servants
          • Appointed by government officials
          • Provide ministers with policy advice
          • Implement government policy
          • Principles
            • Permanence
              • Remain in post as ministers and governments come and go
                • Accumulate expertise and specialist knowledge
            • Neutrality
              • Loyal and supportive of any minister and government
                • Neutral
            • Anonymity
              • They are not public figures
        • Blurry Lines Between Ministers and Civil Servants
          • Ministers could not make all policy decisions
            • Make major decisions
              • Impacted the public
              • Politically controversial
              • Involves substantial public spending
          • Ministers's policy decisions are based on the advice of civil servants
            • Minister's responsibly for policy making is misleading
          • Civil servants may have been politically biased
            • Labour believe that senior civil servants were conservative veto group
              • Influenced by their education and social backgrounds
          • Civil servants control the flow of information to ministers
        • How the Civil Service has Changed
          • Why?
            • Reduce the reliance that ministers had on civil servants by providing alternative sources of advice
              • Political advisers
              • Think-tanks
            • Ensure that senior civil servants are one of us
            • A desire to strengthen the commintment to government policy
            • Wish to improve efficiency and cut costs
          • Can do culture
            • Promotion is linked to positive support for government priorities and goals
          • A split between Whitehall-based policy advisers and executive agencies responsible for implementing policy
          • Wider role for advisers to work alongside both ministers and civil servants
          • The appointment of outsiders to senior posts
          • Increased contracting out of government work to private businesses
          • Wider use of think-tanks
            • Breaking the monopoly of the civil service

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