Political Control of Civil Service
The principle mechanism of political control of the Civil Service is the convention of individual ministerial responsibility. The convention relies heavily on the notion that the minister is responsible to Parliament for the actions of his department and is expected to give accounts to Parliament of matters relating to his department. The convention is designed to create accountability of ministers to Parliament and to safeguard Civil Servants from blame. In practice some parts of this convention have become diluted and politicized, where ministers are reluctant to take full responsibility for policy errors. An example of this is the Derek Lewis affair and Norman Lamont who presided over the collapse of Britain´s ERM policy in 1992 and had to be sacked by John Major.
The development of the 'next step agencies´ led to a diminishing of responsibility between, ministers who are responsible for strategic planning and chief executive who have responsibility for operational matters, for example Derek Lewis and prison agencies.
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