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Study Notes

Core Executive (UK Politics)

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

The core executive is that part of government that implements policy. This covers the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the Cabinet Committees, the Cabinet Office, the government departments and the Senior Civil Service.

The output of the Core Executive is scrutinised by Parliament, which has control over legislation. The connection between Parliament and the Core Executive is the party system, particularly Government Whips, who work to ensure the Government’s majority in Parliament operates effectively. One of the key conventions of the UK’s unwritten constitution is that there is Ministerial Accountability to Parliament, so ministers are members of Parliament, and answer for what they and their departments have done.

Meanwhile, the major Government Departments such as Foreign Affairs and the Treasury have political control exercised through a Cabinet Minister, combined with administrative control through a Permanent Secretary drawn from the civil service.

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