The Core Executive

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  • The Core Executive
    • Prime Minister
      • source of power
        • from the monarchy
          • ability to control the armed forces
          • declare war
          • make treaties
          • annex and cede territory
          • exercise patronage
          • control the workings of civil service
        • convention
          • citizens, party, parliament, cabinet and key officials submit themselves to the PM
        • leader of majority power
          • PMs forced to give up the leadership must also give up the keys to no.10
            • Margret Thatcher in 1990
            • Margret Beckett for 3 months in 2007
      • powers
        • patronage
          • hire and fire
            • ministers at all levels
              • L.Johnson: "its better to have your enemies pissing in the tent rather than out of it"
                • Michael Heseltine - "leader of the wets"
            • senior civil servants
            • bishops of the CofE
            • peers in the house of lords
          • Prior to the Constitutional Reform Act 2005
            • appoint senior judges
          • nominate individuals for honours list
        • cabinet, government and the civil service
          • number, timing and duration of cabinet meetings
          • agenda & minutes
            • PM can "take the feeling of the meeting"
          • control the conduct of meeting and who speaks in them
          • structure and composition of cabinet committees
        • parliament
          • timing of next election
            • Blair & Thatcher 4 year terms
            • The Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011
        • agenda & policy influence
          • Thatcher -  poll tax
        • world stage
          • mass media
          • perogative powers to make war and conclude treaties
      • Foley's Thesis
        • powers
          • patronage
            • hire and fire
              • ministers at all levels
                • L.Johnson: "its better to have your enemies pissing in the tent rather than out of it"
                  • Michael Heseltine - "leader of the wets"
              • senior civil servants
              • bishops of the CofE
              • peers in the house of lords
            • Prior to the Constitutional Reform Act 2005
              • appoint senior judges
            • nominate individuals for honours list
          • cabinet, government and the civil service
            • number, timing and duration of cabinet meetings
            • agenda & minutes
              • PM can "take the feeling of the meeting"
            • control the conduct of meeting and who speaks in them
            • structure and composition of cabinet committees
          • parliament
            • timing of next election
              • Blair & Thatcher 4 year terms
              • The Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011
          • agenda & policy influence
            • Thatcher -  poll tax
          • world stage
            • mass media
            • perogative powers to make war and conclude treaties
        • 4 qualities
          • spatial leadership
            • attempt to distance yourself from office
              • John Major's Citizen's Charter
          • cult of an outsider
            • Thatcher over reforming the civil service
            • Blair reforming the labour party
          • public leadership
            • using the media to appeal to voters
          • personal factor
            • voting for a personality rather than party
        • reasons for growth
          • patronage
          • increasing heads of CS and agency chiefs
          • increased workload so cabinet become a rubber stamping body
          • greater use of advisers
          • media
      • limitations on power
        • Bagehot collective view
        • cabinet
          • seniority of colleagues may demand inclusion
            • 1997 - Jack Straw
            • 2010 - William Hague
          • need for an ideological balance
            • 1997 - John Prescott
            • 2010 - Ken Clarke
          • reward for supporting PM
            • 1997 - Gordon Brown
            • 2010 - George Osborne
          • excluding or forcing out key figures can be counterproductive
            • dangerous enemies on backbench
              • L.Johnson
              • Michael Heseltine under Thatcher
                • embarrassing cabinet resignations
              • Mo Mowlam, Claire Short & Robin Cook under Blair
                • MO Mowlam accused Blair of "control freakery"
          • Abuse of PM powers can lead to critisism
            • Mo Mowlam, Claire Short & Robin Cook under Blair
              • MO Mowlam accused Blair of "control freakery"
        • Parliament
          • PMs authority has no basis in constitutional law
          • PMs need to carry their MPs
            • In Place Of Strife Bill 1969
          • vote of no confidence
          • PM's tenure is very short
        • party
          • Failing backbench confidence
            • 1989 - Anthony Meyer's "stalking horse" leadership challenge
        • public opinion
          • disappointing opinion poll ratings
          • bad results in local elections
          • by-elections
        • own abilities and circumstances
          • Harold Macmillen - "Events, dear boy. Events"
          • Herbert Asquith - "the office of the PM is what the holder chooses and is able to make of it"
          • size of majority, prevailing economic climate or the unexpected
      • Nortons typology
        • egoist
          • David Cameron
          • seek power simply to exercise and retain it, motivated by self-regard
        • balancer
          • John Major
          • ensure peace and stability is maintained, may or may not actively seek office
        • reformer
          • Tony Blair
          • seek power, may be ideologically motivated, seeks agreement of party
        • innovator
          • Thatcher
          • seek power, ideologically motivated, do not seek approval of others, personal imprint on policy
    • The Cabinet
      • role
        • decision making
          • Bagehot called it the "efficient secret" of british government
          • undermined by the development of the PMs power
            • key decisions may now be made elsewhere and then presented as a fait accompli
              • 1997 - handing the control of intrest rates over to the bank of england
        • coordinating departments
          • activities of government departments
            • Blair - "joined up govenment"
        • forward planning
          • addressing problems arising from policy/events
    • Models of Executive Control
      • cabinet government
        • PM is primus inter pares
        • reasons for decline
          • increases scope and complexity of government activity
          • emergence and subsequent rise of cabinet committees
          • bilateral meetings and less formal arrangement
          • behavious of cabinet members
      • kitchen cabinet
        • PM works with a clique of key advisers
        • merely a rubber stamp
      • departmentalised government
        • individual deps have control over their specific area
        • ministers act with a degree of autonomy
          • therefore held accountable
        • cabinet becomes an arena for interdepartmental coordination
      • segmented divisions
        • PM dominance varies in different policy areas
      • presidential views
        • see PMs powers
    • Departments
      • hierachy
        • secretary of state (e.g. George Osborne)
          • ministers of state (e.g. Jeremy Brown)
            • undersecretary of state
              • private parliamentary secretaries aka "ministers bag carriers" (e.g. Desmond Swayne)
      • collective responsibility
        • members of the cabinet publicly stand by decisions made collectively
        • if they do not they are exected to resign and argue from the backbenches
          • Robin Cooks resignation over Iraq in 2001
          • Labour publically campaigned on both sides during the 1975 EEC referendum
      • individual ministerial responsibility
        • forces both personal and role rsponsibility
          • Crichel Down 1954 - Sir Thomas Dugdale resignation, even though the decision had been made by civil servants
        • merits
          • ensures that someone is held accountable
          • keeps civil servants on their toes
          • helps opposition to force justification of policy
        • problems
          • sometimes a result of political pressure
            • 2012 - Andrew Mitchells "plebgate"
          • responsibility can be defected to agencies
            • 1995 - Derek Lewis, Prisons Agency Chief
    • Civil Service
      • reforms
        • Fulton Reports 1968
          • never fully implimented
          • major changes under Thatcher between 1979 and 1990
            • more business like
            • Numbers reduced from 750 000 to 600 000
        • Next Steps Programme 1988
          • agencification
            • 75% moved over to Q.U.A.N.G.O's
        • John Majors Citizen Charter
          • emphasised need to forward planning and a less risk-averse culture
      • roles
        • research
          • engine room of the government
          • crucial as most ministers are generalists
        • policy advice
        • policy execution
        • ensuring continuity betwen governments
      • principles
        • impartiality
          • civil servants serve the crown and should not be asked to perform party political functions
            • undermined by special advisers and politicisation
            • 1997 - Sir Terry Buurns resgned over concerns of the role
        • anonymity
          • they should not be identifiesd publically as the sourcde of policy
            • undermined by rise of agencies
              • 1995 - Derek Lewis, Prisons Agency Chief
            • Clive Ponting and the Falklands war
        • permanence
          • remain in office
            • undermined by fixed-term contracts
      • relationship
        • whitehall community model
          • ministers provide drive and vision
          • strong alience of both sides working together
            • regulated by the civil service code
        • adversial model
          • there is a struggle for power
          • CS has its own agenda and seeks to obstruct government
          • ministers have limited knowledge and experience
            • ametures in their department
            • they can control the flow of information and deny ministers crutial facts
          • 1977 - Tony Benn
            • first heard of the wind scale nuclear station leak in his morning paper
        • bureaucratic expansionism model
          • CS serve their own intrests
            • they create a bureacratic empire that is financially inefficiant and gets in the way of government
            • ministers have a heavy workload meaning they rely on civil servants
              • CS outnumber them massively and that means they can networkb holding informal meetings
          • Tony Benn - " whn a government is elected they hae maximum energy and minimum knowledge, but when it is defeated it has minimum energy and maximum knowledge"
        • administrative model
          • CS serve ministers
            • provide the relavent information that allows ministers to make informed decisions
          • enforced through the 3 principles that were introfduces as a rusult of the Northcote-Travelyan Reforms
          • (see Next Step Reforms)

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