Departments of the United Kingdom Government

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Her Majesty's Government of the United Kingdom contains a number of Cabinet ministers who are usually called secretaries of state when they are in charge of Government departments called ministerial departments. These members of the Cabinet are supported by civil servants in ministerial departments.[1]

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Types of Government department[edit]

Government departments are either ministerial departments or non-ministerial departments.

Ministerial departments are led politically by a Government minister, normally a member of the Cabinet and cover matters that require direct political oversight. For most departments, the Government minister in question is known as a secretary of state and is a member of the Cabinet. He or she is generally supported by a team of junior ministers. The administrative management of the department is led by a senior civil servant known as a permanent secretary. Subordinate to these ministerial departments are executive agencies. An executive agency has a degree of autonomy to perform an operational function and report to one or more specific Government departments, which will set the funding and strategic policy for the agency. At 'arm's length' from a parent or sponsor department there can be a number of non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), known colloquially as quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations or QUANGOs.

Non-ministerial departments generally cover matters for which direct political oversight is judged unnecessary or inappropriate. They are headed by senior civil servants. Some fulfil a regulatory or inspection function, and their status is therefore intended to protect them from political interference. Some are headed by Permanent Secretaries or Second Permanent Secretaries.

List of departments of the United Kingdom Government[edit]

Ministerial departments[edit]

Non-ministerial departments[edit]

List of executive agencies reporting to each department of the United Kingdom Government[edit]

Main article: executive agency

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Directgov, Guide to government: The Civil Service. As archived on The National Archives. dd. Last accessed on 25 November 2013

External links[edit]