[Edexcel] Unit 1 Government & Politics: Pressure Groups

An introduction to Pressure Groups and the types of pressure groups.


  • What is a Pressure Group
  • The difference between a Pressure Group & a Political Party
  • Types of Pressure Groups
  • Functions of Pressure Groups
  • How Pressure Groups exert their influence
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Preview of [Edexcel] Unit 1 Government & Politics: Pressure Groups

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Pressure Groups 8/3/12 S4
What is a Pressure Group?
Individuals and committees who participate in the political process by forming/joining a pressure/interest
group. Consists of people who share common concerns/interests. Can operate locally, nationally/globally.
The group will use its power to:
Get its views published
Influence decisions taken (by councils/EU)
Influence public policy
The difference between a Pressure Group and a Political Party
Pressure Group Political Party
Try to influence government policy BUT do not seek Want to have their candidates elected as MPs to
to win electoral power/form a government form government and run the country
Focus on a single issue i.e. Human Rights/Animal
Focus on a range of issues
Insider Groups Outsider Groups
Campaign vigorously in order to raise their profile Not usually invited by government. Adopt a
and become insider groups in the first place. In a variety of campaigning methods = attract media
strong position to be consulted by government. attention. Influence public opinion and build up
Publicity stunts = legal support. Publicity stunts = illegal
Protective Groups Promotional Groups
Trade unions ­ protect rights of members and Advertise and fight for a cause
protect their interests i.e. Greenpeace
Ultra-Insider Groups
Regularly consulted by government i.e. CBI (Confederation of British Industry)
Insider status = desirable because it allows groups to exert direct pressure on those who make the policies.
Outsider groups = no special links to government = exert influence indirectly in mass media/public opinion
Insider Groups Outsider Groups
Access to policy makers Limited access to policy makers
Often low profiled High profile
Mainstream goals Radical goals
Strong Leadership Strong grass-roots

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Pressure Groups #2 8/3/12 S5
Functions of Pressure Groups:
Political Participation
Policy Formulation
Policy Implementation
Function Explanation
Provides a mouthpiece for groups and interests that are not represented
by political parties. PGs = Alternative functional representation.
But ­ PGs have low level of internal democracy, express views of leaders,
not members.
40 ­ 50% of UK citizens belong to at least 1 voluntary association.…read more

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Pressure Groups #3 8/3/12 S5
Who do they want to influence?
Parliament On Ministers & Civil Servants
Parliamentary lobbying ­ seek to contact Ministers = heart of `core executive' ­ they
sympathetic/well-placed MPs and give them expensively develop policy = where power lies
produced information packs (influencing them).
Stalk the `corridors of power'
Direct Action
Public Opinion
Strikes, blockades, boycotts
and sit-ins = Direct Action
Ways in which PGs Adopted by outsider
May take the form of Civil
can exert their groups.…read more


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