Isle of Man Government

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The Isle of Man Government (Manx: Reiltys Ellan Vannin) is the government of the Isle of Man. The formal head of the Isle of Man Government is the Lieutenant Governor, the personal representative of Queen Elizabeth II, Lord of Mann. The executive head is the Chief Minister.

Douglas, the largest town in the Isle of Man, is its capital and seat of government, where most Government offices and the parliament chambers (Tynwald) are located.

The Civil Service has more than 2,000 employees and the total number of public sector employees including civil servants, teachers, nurses, police, etc. was 7,413 full time equivalent at 31 March 2019.[1] This is just under 10% of the population of the Island and 21%[1] of the working population. This does not include any military forces, as defence is the constitutional responsibility of the United Kingdom.

Government structure[edit]

The Government consists of eight departments, seven statutory boards, and numerous other governmental and quasi-independent agencies. The departments all report directly to the Council of Ministers through their respective minister. Departments 'sponsor' other public bodies to enable a conduit into the Council of Ministers. This arrangement extends to Tynwald and its branches for public bodies that do not have a member of Tynwald on their board.

Government personnel[edit]


Statutory boards[edit]


Other agencies[edit]

  • Culture Vannin (Manx Heritage Foundation)
    • Chair: Hon. Chris Thomas MHK
    • Director: Dr Breesha Maddrell
  • Financial Intelligence Unit (Unnid Tushtag Argidoil)
    • Chair: HM Attorney General
  • Isle of Man Arts Council
    • Chair: Marlene Maska MLC
  • Isle of Man Sport (Isle of Man Sports Council)
    • Chair: Gary Corkhill
  • Manx Industrial Relations Service
  • Manx Lottery Trust
  • Manx National Heritage (Manx Museum and National Trust)
    • Chair: Jonathan Hall
    • Executive Director: Connie Lovel
  • Public Services Commission
    • Chair: Hon. Ray Harmer MHK
    • Vice Chair: Jane Poole-Wilson MLC
    • Secretary: Jon Callister
  • Road Transport and Licensing Committee (Bing Kied Carbid)
    • Chair: Brendan O'Friel
    • Vice Chair: David Sellick
    • Secretary: Noel Capewell
  • Safeguarding Board
    • Independent Chair: Lesley Walker
  • Swimming Pool Authorities
  • Local Government

Brief history[edit]

Lieutenant Governor[edit]

Before modern times the government of the Isle of Man was in the hands of the Governor (or Lieutenant Governor), who was the representative of the Lord of Man, assisted by his Council, consisting of the other permanent officials (the Bishop, Archdeacon, Deemsters, Attorney General, etc.).[6] The Council evolved into the Legislative Council, the upper chamber of Tynwald, the parliament of the Isle of Man.

After the Revestment in 1765 the Lieutenant Governor and his officials were the agents of the British Government, and not democratically responsible to the Manx people. Conflict between the House of Keys (popularly elected after 1866) and the Lieutenant Governor came to a head during the tenure of Lord Raglan (1902–18).

Council of Ministers[edit]

After World War I the Lieutenant Governor gradually ceded control to Tynwald, a process guided by the reports of commissions and other bodies in 1911,[7] 1959[8] and 1969.[9] An Executive Council, chaired by him and including members of Tynwald, was established in 1949, and gradually thereafter became the effective government of the Island. Finance and the police came under local control between 1958 and 1976.[10] The Lieutenant Governor ceased to chair the Executive Council in 1980, being replaced by a chairman elected by Tynwald,[11] and the Council was reconstituted in 1985 to include the chairmen of the eight principal Boards;[12] in 1986 they were given the title 'Minister' and the chairman was styled 'Chief Minister'.[13] In 1990 the Council was renamed the 'Council of Ministers'.[14]


During the 19th century several bodies, which came to be known as 'Boards of Tynwald', were created to exercise functions under democratic control. These included the Board of Education (1872), Highway Board (1874), Asylums Board (1888), Government Property Trustees (1891) and Local Government Board (1894). However, although direct taxation was levied by Tynwald, the Boards' freedom of action before the 1960s was limited by the Lieutenant Governor's control of the Island's budget and his power to appoint certain of their members.

The structure of the Boards of Tynwald, along with other bodies variously called 'Statutory Boards' and 'Commercial Boards', became increasingly unwieldy after the 1950s, and was eventually reformed in the 1980s, when a system of 'ministerial government' was set up.[15]

The Departments and Statutory Boards which existed before the reorganisation in 2010, and their predecessors, are shown below:

  • Treasury, 1985–present
    • Finance Board, 1961–1985
  • Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, 1986–2010
    • Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, 1946–86
      • Board of Agriculture, 1914–1946
      • Fisheries Board, 1927–1946
        • Fishery Conservators, 1882–1927
    • Forestry, Mines and Lands Board, 1950–86
      • Common Lands Board, 1915–50
        • Trustees of the Common Lands, 1866–1915
  • Department of Education, 1987–2010
    • Isle of Man Board of Education, 1946–2009[a]
      • Board of Education, 1872–99
      • Council of Education, 1899–1946
      • Isle of Man Education Authority, 1923–68
        • Isle of Man Central Education Authority, 1920–23
  1. ^ The Board continued in existence as a popularly elected body, but with reduced functions, after the Department of Education was created in 1987; it was not finally dissolved until June 2009.
  • Department of Health and Social Security, 1986–2010
    • Health Services Board, 1948–86
      • Mental Hospital Board, 1932–48
        • Asylums Board, 1888–1932
    • Board of Social Security, 1970–86
      • Board of Social Services, 1946–70
        • Health Insurance and Pensions Board, 1939–46
          • Old Age Pensions and National Health Insurance Board, 1920–39
  • Department of Transport, 2004–2010
    • Department of Highways, Ports and Properties 1986–2004
      • Isle of Man Highway and Transport Board, 1946–86
        • Highway Board, 1874–1946
          • Committee of Highways, 1776–1874
      • Isle of Man Harbour Board, 1948–86
        • Isle of Man Harbour Commissioners, 1872–1948
          • Commissioners for Harbours, 1771–1872
      • Isle of Man Airports Board, 1948–86
      • Government Property Trustees, 1891–1986
  • Department of Home Affairs, since 1986
    • Home Affairs Board, 1981–86
      • Isle of Man Police Board, 1962–81
      • Isle of Man Broadcasting Commission, 1965–81
      • Civil Defence Commission, 1955–81
  • Department of Trade and Industry, 1996–2010
    • Department of Industry, 1986–1996
      • Industry Board, 1981–86
  • Department of Local Government and the Environment, 1986–2010
    • Local Government Board, 1894–1986
  • Department of Tourism and Leisure, 1994–2010
    • Department of Tourism and Transport, 1986–2004
      • Tourist Board, 1952–86
        • Publicity Board, 1931–52
          • Board of Advertising, 1904–31
            • Advertising Committee, 1897–1904
      • Isle of Man Passenger Transport Board, 1982–86
        • Manx Electric Railway Board, 1957–82
  • Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading, since 1998
    • Board of Consumer Affairs (1981–1998)
      • Consumer Council (1972–1981)
  • Financial Supervision Commission, since 1982
  • Insurance and Pensions Authority, since 1996
    • Insurance Authority, 1986–96
  • Isle of Man Post Office (1993)
    • Isle of Man Post Office Authority (1972–93)
  • Isle of Man Water and Sewerage Authority, since 2010
    • Isle of Man Water Authority (1985–2010)
      • Isle of Man Water and Gas Authority (1974–1985)
        • Isle of Man Water Authority (1972–1974)
        • Isle of Man Gas Authority (1972–1974)
        • Isle of Man Water Board (1946–1972)
  • Manx Electricity Authority, since 1983
    • Isle of Man Electricity Board (1932–1984)
  • Communications Commission (1989)
    • Telecommunications Commission (1985–1989)
  • Gambling Supervision Commission, up to present


  1. ^ a b "HR Management Information Report 2018-19" (PDF). Isle of Man Government.
  2. ^ "Communications and Utilities Regulatory Authority Order 2020" (PDF). Tynwald. Tynwald.
  3. ^ "Interim Chief Executive Officer takes up key role". Isle of Man Government.
  4. ^ "Dan Davies appointed Interim Chief Executive Officer at the Department of Home Affairs". Isle of Man Government.
  5. ^ "Appointment of new Chief Financial Officer". Isle of Man Government.
  6. ^ Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry for the Isle of Man, 1792
  7. ^ Report of the Departmental Committee on the Constitution etc. of the Isle of Man, 1911, Cd.5950 (the 'MacDonnell Report')
  8. ^ Report of the Commission on the Isle of Man Constitution, 1959 (the MacDermott Report')
  9. ^ Report of the Joint Working Party on the Constitutional Relationship between the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom, 1969 (the 'Stonham Report')
  10. ^ Finance Act 1958, Finance Act 1962, Police (Isle of Man) Act 1962, Governor's Financial and Judicial Functions (Transfer) Act 1976: Statutes of the Isle of Man
  11. ^ Constitution (Executive Council) (Amendment) Act 1980
  12. ^ Constitution (Executive Council) Act 1984
  13. ^ Constitution (Executive Council) (Amendment) Act 1986
  14. ^ Council of Ministers Act 1990
  15. ^ Gumbley, K F W (1988), "Government Departments and Statutory Boards", Manx Law Bulletin, 10: 61–73

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°09′06.6″N 4°28′48.6″W / 54.151833°N 4.480167°W / 54.151833; -4.480167