Custom Search

Bureaucracy and power

Formulation of a policy is not conductin policy:


1.      Electorate elects PMs

2.      But ministers now sometimes manipulated by civil service and bureacracy

3.      Decision making process has moved to an earlier stage (commities, departments)

4.      Those who participate in the earlier stages hav more influence, so cabinet mmbers have less importance.

5.      Many decisions dont go to the cabinet. (Pit closures in mining didn't go cabinet and was a surprise when broke out). Foreign polic and macroeconomic policy are so importnt that the prime minister is informed. Chancelor is not excluded. Frequently we think of prime ministerial influence is actually a conjuction of ministers influence.

6.      Things of particular security don't go to cabinet (atom bomb). Sometimes only a limited group of ministers in  a cabinet limitely inform others and conduct the affair.

7.      Governments have collective resposibility. There is also an individual responsibility. So a minister must resign if somebody below him that he is responsible mocks up. Individual responsibility is in decline (they say the did not know). It is not clear how the chain of responsibility goes. Lately ministers resign of ministers because of personal matters that come to public knowledge.

In america the president has a department that is growing to centralise policy. There is no primeministerial department. Thatcher  was dictorial, a situation arised that MPs were so unhappy that voted against her, majority of cabinet withdrew as well.

Initiative for policy making should come from the government that orders the bureaucratic system. Some argue that it goes the other way - bureaucratic system inflluences government.

Electorate->Parliament->Government->Cabinet->Prime minister.

There constrains are relevant to government:

1.      there is a permanent bureacuracy in the centre of policy. There are other departments that are not on the public view but have influence (policy). Secret state idea. Civil service is the only serios influence

2.      Party policy that informs the government and that they came in front of the public.

3.      There is a range of interest and presssure groups.

4.      European Union and other foreign institutions.

British civil administrative elite thought to be top class

1.      as straight from oxbridge.

2.      training for mind, not to blindly follow

3.      party neutral, honest

4.      ministers usually were clever and can improve

5.      we have party manifestos that have to be fulfilled


1.      Civil service can manipulate ministers, itself remainig anonymous

2.      Ministers are often put to lead departments they don't know much about. So Cs can affect them

3.      Cs can control the info that reaches ministers

4.      complacency due to no market

Falton committee aksed about

1.      proper training

2.      sufficient exerience when recruited straight to top

3.      technical knowledge

4.      carreer planning and contact with outside world


1.      Abolition of classes - not recruitment directly to highest positions

2.      Management training courses are important (get industry in)

3.      Oxbridge should be discouraged

4.      management training

5.      more exchange with outside world

6.      less mobility, more time on one job

7.      examination closer

In practice interchangeability was not so wanted as the promotion oportunities got lower. dissolvation)

1992 there was set up a civil service department dealing with recruitment to govn.

Although we have a democraty, but:

1.   People cant choose between elections

2.   Persuasive campaigns, also against other parties

3.   Popular policies  before elections

There are constraints on the government:

1.      more autonomous parliament

2.      interes groups

3.      bureaucracy outside england

Click here to see more economics,politics and school papers from me