Government and the citizen


HideShow resource information

The Role of Government

  • Executive agent of the state, runs the country
  • Make decisions on behalf of the community (judges, police and civil servants)
  • Top tier of British government, Prime Minister and the Cabinet
1 of 27

What is happening in the UK?

  • Devolution means Britain is becoming decentralised
  • Westminster has ultimate power, parliament for Scotland, national assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland
  • Mayor in London
  • Asymmetric devolution - different parts of the country have different degrees of independence
2 of 27

The Legislature - House of Commons

  • 650 elected members of parliament, represent local constituencies
  • General elections for MP's held every 5 years
  • Voting is secret ballot at age of 18
  • Ultimate power in House of Commons
3 of 27

The House of Lords

  • Limitations on the power of the Lords
  • Complements the Commons, and not rival it
  • Once passed through both houses, legislation requires the Royal Assent to become law
4 of 27

The Executive

  • Civil service responsible for administering the laws that Parliament has passed
  • 750-800 senior officials who advise ministers, prepare and draft discussion documents and legislation and make decisions themselves
  • Exert a powerful influence because they are skilled and experienced - Mandarin power


5 of 27

The Cabinet

  • 20-24 senior members of the government, chosen by PM
  • Key formal decision making body within the executive
  • Directs work of government
  • Co-ordinating work of different departments
6 of 27

The Prime minister

  • Majority support in House of Commons
  • Power to appoint and dismiss ministers
  • Presides over the cabinet
  • Responsible for the allocation of functions among ministers
  • Informs Queen at regular meeting of the general business of the Government
  • Recommends number of appointments to the Queen
7 of 27

The Judicary

  • Lord Chancellor is head of the Judicary in England and Wales
  • Court procedure, adminstration of higher courts and tribunals in England and Wales
  • Less serious offences tried in England and Wales by lay magistrates
  • Serious offences tried by the Crown Court
8 of 27

The Queen

  • Head of executive branch of the government
  • Integral part of the legislature
  • Head of the Judicary
  • Commander-in-chief of the armed forces
  • Supreme governor of the Church of England
  • Acts on advice of the minister
  • Lots of charity work
9 of 27

Roles of Parliament

  • Holding the government to account
    • check what departments are doing, how pubic money being spent
    • ask questions in the House of Commons
    • work on committees which run investigations and make recommendations to the government
  • Making and amending laws
    • bills going through parliament are government bills
    • everyone in parliament can debate about them and vote on them
  • Representing UK citizens
    • MP's voted for, support and represent citizens
    • help with issues that people cannot contact local council about
10 of 27

Local Government

  • Government provided by local councils
  • Part of multi-level governance in UK
  • Good to have a layer of government close to people
11 of 27

Caring about local government

  • 700 different functions
  • Provides education, housing, leisure facilities, social services etc
  • Provides a chance for local participation
12 of 27

Worrying about local government

  • Poor turnouts to local elections
  • Voters cast votes on who they vote for nationally
  • FPTP
  • low levels of interest and participation
  • ignorance of what local government actually does
13 of 27

Local Authorities

  • District councils responsible for environmental health, housing, leisure, refuse collection, revenue collection and local roads
  • Counties responsible for education, fire and ambulances, libaries, main roads, social services, refuse collection and transport

Unitary authorities exercise all of these functions

14 of 27

Devolved government

  • Economic discontent - felt areas suffered from unfair burdens, bearing from worst of recession, industrial decline and high unemployment
  • Remoteness from London - those who made decisions in London didn't care about them
  • In scotland the oil issue - Scottish nationalists wanted to self govern
  • In wales the cultural issue - preserving the Welsh culture and language

1998 Scotland act, 129 MSP's. 1998 Wales act, 60 members.

Good Friday agreement in 1998, Northern Ireland Assembly formed

15 of 27

Devolution in practice

  • Democratic
  • Gives enough power to keep UK together
  • Got off to bad start, arguments over leadership
  • Could lead to break-up of UK
16 of 27

Finance of Government

  • Different levels funded by income taxes
  • If entire budget not used, removed from the following years
  • Funding allocated to areas where it fits, central government need to be alerted of this
17 of 27


  • Voice of local community
  • Local people know whats best for local people
  • Shape future services for benefits of local people
  • Local people can talk about issues
  • Deal with enquiries about aspects of council business
  • Explain council policy
  • Encourage community participation

Elected by local people, usually represent a party, sometimes independant

18 of 27

People not enthusiastic about local government

  • Lacks glamour, all interesting and important things decided nationally
  • Voting is worthwile, control in areas never changes
  • Poor image
19 of 27

People made to care more about local government

  • Create smaller authorities, encourage local democracy
  • Use proportional voting system, fairer
  • Create small area committees
  • Grant local government more power
20 of 27

Purpose of the EU

  • Bring peace, prosperity and security to Europe
  • Reduce likeliness of war
  • Boost economies of countries in Europe
  • Created through number of treaties
  • 27 countries
  • Creates legislation
21 of 27

European Commission

  • Propose new legislation
  • Ensures EU legislation is correct
  • Monitors the use of EU funds
22 of 27

The Council of European Union

  • Votes and debates on areas such as economic and financial affairs
  • Justice, employment, health and educational
  • Member states act as host and chair meetings
23 of 27

European Parliament

  • Amend, approve and reject legislation propsed by commission
  • Power to scrutinise and dismiss the European commissioners
  • Joint budgetary authority with the Council of the EU
  • Each of the 27 states elect one member into parliament
24 of 27

Impact of the EU

  • Monitors fishing of endangered fish species
  • Cut mobile phone bills
  • Food must be labelled clearly if it is GM
  • Make sure consumers have as much choice as possible
  • Introduction of the Euro
  • Pet passports
  • Cutting energy consumption by 20%
25 of 27

Should we be actively involved in EU affairs?

  • Political case for membership - Union successful in reconciling France and Germany and brought peace. Created prosperity. Europe has more economic and political influence.
  • The economic case for membership - Britain benefits from a huge economic market which covers 500 million people. Many British jobs depend on trade with EU.
26 of 27

Economic and social benefits of membership to UK c

27 of 27


No comments have yet been made

Similar Citizenship Studies resources:

See all Citizenship Studies resources »