The Structure of the Executive branch of Govt


what is the Executive branch

The Executive branch of govt provides:

  • Political leadership, where political decisions are made and enforced. 
  • As the uncodified constitution means that the govt has the ultimate power, it is important to place the amount of power they have and holding them to account. 
  • Without it, there may be a tyranny against the people. 
  • The executive branch are the key decision makers and enforces laws. 
  • It is mainly viewed that the PM effectively runs the country. 
  • However, the UK system is collective, rather than personal. 
  • This means that govt policy is made by the cabinet. 
  • The Core Executive is made up of institutions and groups, which include ministers, senior civil servants and political advisors. 
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The Structure of the executive branch

The executive branch is the branch of govt who implement laws and policies made by Parliament. They are seen to be:

  • The 'sharp end' of govt, because they have an impact on the public. 
  • Therefore, the executive branch controls the policy process and 'governs.'
  • It extends from the PM, who is the head of govt and chair of the cabinet, to the enforcement agencies. 
    • This includes the police, military, ministers and civil servants. 
  • There are 2 main parts of the executive:
    • The Political Executive
    • The Official Executive. 

The Political Executive is consists of ministers who direct govt policy. 

Whereas, the Official Executive consists of civil servants who provide advice on policy, and implement govt policy.

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The Prime Minister

Until the 1980s, the post of Prime Minister had little official recognition. However, this power has grown over time and some claim that the PM operates on the bases of Presidentialism:

  • Presidentialism is the system where political leaders act increasingly like the executive presidents, through the rise of personalised leadership. 
  • To become PM, a politician must be:
    • An MP and sit in the HOC. 
    • A party leader and appointed. (Thatcher lost leadership in 1990).
    • Their party must have a majority of seats in the HOC.
  • However, in 2010, when a hung Parliament occured, the Queen asked Cameron to form a govt, even though the Conservatives were 19 seats short of an overall majority. Therefore, the Lib Dems had to form a coalition govt. 
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The Role of the Prime Minister

The role of the Prime Minister is effected by the uncodified constitution because of the allocation of formal responsiblities. 

According to Walter Bagehot, the traditional role of the PM was:

  • 'Primus inter Pares', which means 'first among equals'.
  • This shows that the PM is a representative of govt, in regards to the monarch and the right to be consulted. 
  • In addition, it implies that all members of the cabinet had an equal influence over decisions. 

There are 6 key roles of the PM, which include:

  • Making government
  • Directing government policy
  • Managing the cabinet system
  • Organising government
  • Controlling Parliament
  • Providing national leadership.
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Making govt, Directing govt policy and Managing th

A role of the PM is to make governments:

  • The PM appoints all the members of the government, the cabinet and other ministers. 
  • This gives the PM substantial control over the careers of their Party's MPs and Peers. 

A second role of the PM is to direct government policy:

  • The PM sets the overall direction of govt policy and defines goals, as the core executive is the central figure. 
  • This is also where the PM will intefer in any aspect of policy, despite their only major concerns are associated with economic and foreign policies. 

A third role of the PM is to manage the cabinet system:

  • This is where the PM chairs the cabinet meetings and determines the number and lengths of each meeting. 
  • PM will also set up cabinet committees. 
  • Prime ministerial power is determined, mainly by the relationship between the PM and the cabinet. 
    • E.g. Michael Gove (reshuffled).
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Organising government, Controlling Parliament and

The PM will also organise the government:

  • PM is also responsible for the structure and organisation of government. 
  • This involves setting up, reorganising and abolishing the governmend departments. 
  • The govt is also responsible for the civil service. 

Another role of the PM is to control Parliament:

  • The PM effectively controls the lower chamber and Parliament itself. 
  • This is because they are the leader of the largest party in the HOC. 
  • However, this control may be limited, in the event of a 'hung Parliament.'

The last role of of the PM is providing national leadership:

  • Being elected by the people, is the basis of the PM's authority.
  • The link between the PM and the people has been strengthened by the media's relentless focus on the office. 
  • In times of national crisis, war or responses to majort events, national leadership is most important. 
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