Most such departments are led by ministers and the ministers are accountable to parliament and have to report on the progress of their department. Certain non-ministerial posts may also be given to people heading certain departments1.
This essay will deal with the role of the governments, both local and central and examine to what extent the local governments are dependent on central government. Is there an issue of performance scrutiny Are the local governments completely controlled by the central government2 These are issues that will be discussed is some detail.
The ministers are in charge of government departments and are known as secretaries of state. They are members of the cabinet and carry out duties that the Prime Minster allots to them. Certain holders of traditional offices may have no departmental duties. Ministerial responsibility refers to both the collective responsibility for government policy and actions which ministers share, and to the ministers' individual responsibility for the work of their own departments. Collective responsibility implies that ministers should support government decisions and policies once they have been made and strictly implement those policies.
Departmental ministers must agree with government policies as a whole so ministers are either expected to support or resign (Direct.gov on Central govt, 2005). This shows the extreme control of the central government in policy matters. In recent years we have seen such cases of resignation when ministers have failed to support government policies for instance the decision to go to war against Iraq (BBC report 2003/2005)3. The junior ministers are parliamentary undersecretaries of State and they report to a minister and oversee certain functions of a department. Departmental ministers tend to decide on all matters within their responsibility although certain cases may involve the decision of more than one department and consequently more than one minister would be responsible for the decision. On taking up office ministers are required to resign from directorships of private and public companies and ensure that there is no conflict in public and private interests (Direct.gov on Central govt, 2005).
The central government consists of a cabinet of 20 ministers chosen by the Prime Minister and include both departmental and non-departmental ministers. The Cabinet represents the true collective responsibility and is expected to take the final decisions on government policies and adhere to them. The cabinet meets weekly although its business remains confidential until policies are made public and official (Direct.gov on Central govt, 2005).
The civil service helps the government to formulate policies, carry out decisions and administer public services for which they are responsible. As ofJune 2001, civil servants constituted about 2 per cent of the working population in employment and about 10 per cent of all public sector employees and half of all civil services provide their services directly to the public4. The Prime Minister is responsible for central co-ordination and management of the Civil Service (Direct.gov on Central govt, 2005). The central government also consists of executive agencies that are directly accountable to the ministers. These government agencies