Why Do Ministers Need To Scrutinise The Government

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Intro- Who are Ministers + need to scrutinise the government

The Ministers of the Crown Act 1975 defines a Minister as the holder of any office in Her Majesty’s government in the UK. Ministers of the Crown are members of the governing political party who have been appointed to a political office in the government. Formally, they are appointed by the Crown on the advice of the Prime Minister, in practice this latter has the ultimate say on who is appointed. Ministers are members of one of either House. By statute, they can be no more than 95 holders in the House of Commons; in order to prevent the executive from dominating the House. There is a hierarchy of government positions. Ministers are graded in terms of their importance and responsibilities. Each of the principal Secretary of State heads up a government department and sits in the Cabinet. Ministers exercise great
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Peel, PM between 1841-46, thought that Ministers are responsible for policies and decisions because they are able to command a majority in the House. Accordingly, they need not reflect the wishes of the House; the government must be strong. The Peelite view seems dominant today.

b) Erosion of the Individual Ministerial Responsibility

There has been an erosion of individual responsibility due to the increasing size and complexity of modern government departments. There is also an increasing use of executive agencies running key areas of the administration diluting the responsibility of the Minister heading the department and there are constraints as to the amount of time and resources that Parliament can devote to the scrutiny of dpts or agencies. Holding ministers to account is a difficult task in a modern state where most governmental powers are exercised by civil servants. In practice, no individual minister could ever assume sole responsibility for managing a large organisation such as central government department.

c) Proposals for

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