Central government

All Standard Notes
64 Documents
DateDescription
28.11.2014Background to the Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse
This brief note provides general background information about the Independent Panel Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse which was established in July 2014 by the Home Secretary, Theresa May.
12.11.2014Ministers in the Coalition Government: 2010 - present
Ministerial office holders since the 2010 General Election.
16.09.2014Coalitions at Westminster
This standard note looks at coalition governments at Westminster, in the light of the first peacetime coalition government since 1931, formed after the May 2010 general election. It examines incidents where cabinet collective responsibility did not apply.
23.05.2014Queen's Speech 2014
This Standard Note gathers together announcements from ministers and speculation from commentators on the issues that might be included in the forthcoming Queen's Speech.
20.03.2014FoI and Ministerial vetoes
The Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw, issued the first ministerial veto in relation to a FoI request on 23 February 2009 for the contents of the legal advice on military action against Iraq. Two subsequent vetoes were issued protecting communications on devolution issues and a fourth on. A fourth veto was issued on 8 May 2012 blocking the release of the NHS Transitional Risk Register and a fifth in July 2012 blocking extracts from Cabinet minutes on the military action against Iraq in 2003. The most recent, the sixth, was on 16 October 2012, relating to the release of correspondence from Prince Charles to Government departments. This Standard Note traces the history of the veto within FoI legislation and summarises comparative examples abroad.
25.02.2014Regional cabinet meetings
A list of Cabinet meetings held away from Downing Street
29.01.2014Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill: Lords amendments
An update on the amendments to the Bill during its passage through the House of Lords.
21.11.2013Special advisers
This Standard Note summarises developments regarding Special Advisers since 2000.
15.10.2013Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill: Progress of the Bill
This Note charts the progress of the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill through Parliament. It complements Research Paper 13/51 prepared for the Commons Second Reading.
17.07.2013Lobbying: July 2013 update
This Note covers the debate over a statutory register of lobbyists, and gives an update on the Government's plans to legislate.
16.07.2013Public records, freedom of information and the Royal Family
This Note outlines exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act relating to the Royal Family.
12.07.2013Freedom of Information requests
From 1 January 2005, individuals were given the right to make requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This note gives a brief summary of the rights in relation to Freedom of Information to enable requesters to understand the statutory background.
04.07.2013Fees for FoI requests
This Note sets out the legal position on charging fees for Freedom of Information requests.
02.07.2013The office of Deputy Prime Minister
This Note gives the background to the office and the role of the Deputy Prime Minister.
20.06.2013PIL: Peers in the Cabinet
This PIL lists Peers in the Cabinet since 1970
10.06.2013PIL: Ministers who have held ministerial office for 20 years or more
Ministers since 1900 who have held ministerial office for 20 years or more.
23.04.2013Queen's Speech 2013
This Standard Note gathers together announcements from ministers and speculation from commentators on the issues that might be included in the forthcoming Queen's Speech.
13.03.2013The Union Flag and Flags of the United Kingdom
The purpose of this Note is to set out a brief history of the flags of the United Kingdom and to explain the current guidance issued by the DCMS. This Note also refers to the current guidance issued by the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
31.01.2013Commercial Lobbyists (Registration and Code of Conduct) Bill 2012-13 [Bill 39 2012-13]
The Commercial Lobbyists (Registration and Code of Conduct) Bill 2012-13 is a Private Member's Bill promoted by Thomas Docherty. It seeks to create a statutory register for commercial lobbyists and a legally enforceable code of conduct. It was presented on 25 June 2012, and is scheduled for second reading on 1 February 2013.
18.01.2013Government policy announcements
The Ministerial Code states that when Parliament is in Session, the most important Ministerial announcements should be made in Parliament. However there have been occasions when, for whatever reason, announcements have not been delivered in Parliament first. Often in such cases the Speaker has made a statement to the House deprecating what has happened and sometimes calling on the minister concerned to account for his/her actions.
26.11.2012Honours for political service
This Note examines developments in honours for political service.
09.11.2012Individual ministerial accountability
This Note looks at the recent debate on the question of individual ministerial responsibility in the context of civil service reform and civil service capability.
23.10.2012PIL: Government Chief Whips since 1945
14.09.2012Limitations on the number of Ministers and the size of the Payroll vote
This standard note sets out the statutory limits that apply to ministerial appointments. It summarises recent proposals to reduce the number of Ministers and provides figures for the size of the payroll vote since 1979.
03.09.2012Investigatory inquiries and the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921
The Inquiries Act 2005 made significant changes to the system of public inquiries in the UK and is fully covered in Standard Note 06410. The subject of parliamentary inquiries is covered in Standard Note 6392 Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry. This Note looks at other types of inquiries which can be established, statutory or non-statutory, and at the predecessor to the Inquiries Act, the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921 which had formed the main basis for statutory inquiries over some 80 years.
03.09.2012The Inquiries Act 2005
This Note explains the provisions of the Inquiries Act 2005. This Act is the main statutory basis for establishing an inquiry into matters of major current concern. The Note sets out details of each inquiry held under the Act and examines some of the procedural issues.
26.07.2012Business Appointment Rules
This note explains how the rules operate which regulate the appointment of former Permanent Secretaries (and deputy secretaries) and former Ministers to posts in the private sector.
13.07.2012Ministerial Residences
This note provides information on ministerial residences including their allocation, financial arrangements and hospitality rules as well as historical notes on each residence.
05.07.2012Parliamentary Private Secretaries
This note sets out the history and development of the position of Parliamentary Private Secretary as well as discussing the role and functions of the post and the limitations placed upon its holders.
19.06.2012The Ministerial Code
This Note looks at the Ministerial Code and the developments connected with it since 2010.
10.05.2012How the UK Government deals with EU Business
This Note looks at UK Government and Civil Service structures and culture; what happens at the UK-EU interface, and methods for transposing EU law into UK law.
18.04.2012Queen's Speech 2012
This Standard Note gathers together speculation on the issues that might be included in the forthcoming Queen's Speech.
29.03.2012Orders under the Public Bodies Act 2011
The Public Bodies Act 2011 received royal assent on 14 December 2011. The Act provides for orders to be brought forward to abolish, merge, modify the constitutional arrangements of; modify the funding arrangements of; and modify or transfer the functions of public bodies.
02.03.2012Parliamentary involvement in public appointments
This note sets out the background to pre-appointment hearings; considers the operation of the hearings to date; and outlines the findings of research commissioned by the Cabinet Office and the Liaison Committee on the impact of the pilot. It also briefly reviews the Liaison Committee's proposals for reforming pre-appointment hearings in the light of that research.
02.02.2012Honours
This Note sets out the current operation of the Honours system and summarises the results of earlier reviews.
25.01.2012Lobbying
This note sets out issues relating to lobbying in the UK, including the announcement of the Government's consultation paper on a statutory register. It includes background to the Public Administration Select Committee's inquiry and the main findings of their report as well as the Government response. It also includes details of the 1991 Select Committee on Members' Interests report and the relevant work of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.
24.11.2011The Public Bodies Bill [HL] : Commons and remaining stages
This standard note covers the Commons stages of the Public Bodies Bill [HL]
16.11.2011Impeachment
This Note looks at the history of impeachment.
11.08.2011Public Service Reform
This Standard Note provides background information on the Coalition Government's public service reform agenda and current ideas about commissioning public services.
11.05.2011Progress of the Public Bodies Bill [HL] 2010-11
This note briefly sets out the outcome of the review of public bodies before providing information on the progress of the Bill in the Lords so far. There is a Library Standard Note SN/PC/5609, Quangos, which sets out the background to the bill and general information about the 'quango debate'.
07.03.2011Prime Ministers
This note lists the Prime Ministers that have served in the United Kingdom, since 1721.
31.01.2011Quangos
This note provides a short history of public bodies in the United Kingdom before looking at the size and cost of the quango state. It considers why the number and cost of quangos has been hard to control. It then looks at the accountability of public bodies and appointments mechanisms. It also sets out the main provisions of the Public Bodies Bill [HL] as introduced. The Library Standard Note SN/PC/5845, Progress of the Public Bodies Bill [HL] 2010-11 provides more detailed information on the Bill
23.11.2010Civil Service reform
This note outlines the Coalition Government's plans for the civil service. It also provides a very brief overview of civil service reform since 1979.
18.11.2010The Commissioner for Public Appointments
This note reviews the role and work of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. It additionally outlines the role of Ministers in public appointments.
09.11.2010Government Offices for the Regions
Government Offices for the English Regions are to be abolished
28.07.2010Freedom of Information: the first five years
The Freedom of Information Act came into force in January 2005. This note reviews the operation of the Act over the first five years of implementation.
27.07.2010Parliamentary Ombudsman: right of Appeal
Members often ask on behalf of their constituents whether there is any appeal against a decision by the Parliamentary Ombudsman (also called the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration). This note provides guidance on this subject.
20.07.2010PIL: Twentieth Century Prime Ministers and their Governments
This PIL notes Prime Ministers that have served in the United Kingdom since 1900.
03.06.2010Hung parliaments
This note sets out situations where there has been no overall control in the House of Commons during the twentieth century. It considers precedents and conventions governing how the monarch might decide which party should form a government in such a situation, and when a request for a dissolution might be granted. The note also considers how a minority government or coalition might affect the work of Parliament. Lastly, it looks briefly at the formation of coalition governments in Scotland and Wales.
25.05.2010Women in Parliament and public service
Women make up 51% of the population of the UK, but only 22% of MPs are women. This note looks at women in Parliament, Government and other areas of public life.
30.12.2009The Royal Prerogative
This note sets out the historical background to the Royal Prerogative before describing general prerogative powers and the Crown's personal prerogative powers. It then sets out recent proposals for reform. It does not provide detailed information on individual prerogative powers.
21.10.2009Misconduct in public office
This Note briefly sets out the history of the Common Law offence of 'misconduct in public office'. It looks at recent use of the offence in prosecutions and considers proposals to place the offence on a statutory footing.
03.06.2009Crown Employment (Nationality) Bill 2006-07
This Private Member's Bill is due for a second reading on Friday 12 June 2009. This Note gives background to its provisions which are designed to liberalise the nationality requirements for civil servants.
27.05.2009Electronic Government
This Standard Note describes e-Government, outlines Government efforts in this field, and related issues.
24.04.2009Effect of Budget 2009 on departmental expenditure
30.12.2008Official Secrecy
This Note sets out the historical background to the current laws on official secrecy. It also provides a brief summary of notable cases which have involved official information legislation.
25.06.2008Ministerial Salaries
This Standard Note sets out the background to and effect of the Ministerial and other Salaries Order 2008, which was laid before both Houses of Parliament in draft on 2 June 2008.
30.04.2008The Central-Local Concordat
This note covers the central-local concordat signed in December 2007 in fulfilment of a pledge in the Governance of Britain Green Paper.
28.02.2008Prime Ministerial involvement in senior ecclesiastical appointments
This note sets out the Government's proposals to reform the Prime Minister's involvement in senior ecclesiastical appointments and the response of the Church of England.
04.06.2007The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill 2006/07: Progress of the Bill
This Note updates Research Paper 07/18 The Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill, which was published on 21 February. Since then, this Bill has finished its Commons stages.
04.05.2006Freedom of Information, data protection and papers of a previous administration
The Freedom of Information Act 2000 has now been in force from January 2005. This Standard Note examines the interaction between data protection with particular reference to the position of officials and the papers of a previous administration.
26.01.2006The Lyons and Gershon Reviews and variations in Civil Service conditions
Organisational changes to the Civil Service over the past thirty years have meant that the majority of civil servants now work in Departments and Executive Agencies in which the responsibility for pay and conditions are decided locally. Uniform pay structures and conditions of service have been significantly eroded. The Government have launched major reviews into the operation of the civil service and these include the Lyons and Gershon Reviews.
07.12.2005Public Service Agreements
This note offers a brief summary of the history and purpose of Public Service Agreements, introduced in 1998 as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review.
30.06.2005Civil Servants: Employment Rights
All Research Papers
13 Documents
DateDescription
13.10.2014House of Commons sitting of the UK Youth Parliament - November 2014
This special briefing paper has been produced to help Members of Youth Parliament (MYPs) prepare for the House of Commons sitting of the UK Youth Parliament which takes place on 14 November.
27.08.2013Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill
The Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill was introduced to the House of Commons on 17 July 2013. This briefing has been prepared to inform the Second Reading debate on the Bill which is scheduled to take place on 3 September 2013.
14.06.2011Public Bodies Bill [HL]
The Public Bodies [HL] Bill is largely enabling legislation. It would allow ministers, by order, to abolish, merge or transfer the functions of the public bodies listed in the appropriate schedules to the Act. It is the main legislative vehicle for taking forward the Government's review of public bodies, the results of which were published in October 2010.
15.06.2009The Departmental Select Committee System
On 25 June 1979 the House of Commons agreed to establish a new system of departmental select committees to scrutinise the expenditure, administration and policy of government departments. This paper briefly sets out the historical background to the departmental select committees system before charting their development over the last 30 years, considering evaluations made of the system and recent proposals for reform.
16.05.2008Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill [HL] 2007-08
Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill (HL) 2007-08. (Bill 103 of 2007-08). House of Commons Library Research Paper 08/46.
23.04.2008Parliamentary Involvement in Public Appointments
09.03.2007The Statistics and Registration Service Bill, Committee Stage Report
The Statistics and Registration Service Bill, Committee Stage Report. House of Commons Library Research Paper 07/25
21.12.2005The Centre of Government - No. 10, the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury
24.11.2004Freedom of Information implementation
Freedom of Information implementation. House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/84.
15.11.2004Collective Responsibility of Ministers
The collective responsibility of ministers - an outline of the issues. House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/82.
05.04.2004Individual ministerial responsibility-issues and examples
Individual ministerial responsibility - issues and examples. House of Commons Library Research Paper 04/31.
12.12.2000Shifting control?
Shifting control? Aspects of the executive-parliamentary relationship. House of Commons Library Research Paper 00/92.
05.04.2000Advisers to Ministers
Advisers to ministers. House of Commons Library Research Paper 00/42.
All Select Committee Reports
65 Select Committee Reports
DateDescription
15.02.2012Role and functions of departmental Chief Scientific Advisers.
Science and Technology Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
13.09.2011The performance of the Ministry of Defence 2009-10.
Government response. Defence Select Committee; Ministry of Defence report [Commons]
19.07.2011Ministry of Defence main estimates 2011-12.
Defence Select Committee report [Commons]
18.07.2011Home Office - work of the Permanent Secretary.
Home Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
14.07.2011Role of the FCO in UK government.
Government response. Foreign and Commonwealth Office report [Commons]
06.07.2011Pre-appointment hearing for the post of Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
06.07.2011Remuneration of the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
22.06.2011The performance of the Ministry of Defence 2009-10.
Defence Select Committee report [Commons]
22.06.2011Cross-government: Information and Communications Technology in government: Landscape review.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
09.06.2011Cabinet Manual.
Government response. Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
11.05.2011Departmental business planning.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
27.04.2011Role of the FCO in UK government.
Foreign Affairs Select Committee report [Commons]
30.03.2011Cabinet Manual.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
22.03.2011Constitutional implications of the Cabinet Manual.
Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
16.03.2011Smaller government: shrinking the quango state.
Government response. Cabinet Office report [Commons]
10.03.2011Lessons from the process of government formation after the 2010 general election.
Government response. Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
01.03.2011Smaller Government: what do Ministers do?
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
25.01.2011HMRC 2009-10 accounts.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
20.01.2011Lessons from the process of government formation after the 2010 general election.
Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee report [Commons]
18.01.2011Ministry of Justice Financial Management.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
20.12.2010Smaller government: shrinking the quango state.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
15.12.2010Treasury Minutes on the the Public Accounts Committee, first and second reports of session 2010-11 (HC...
Government response. Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
14.12.2010Central Government use of consultants and interims.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
14.12.2010Financial Scrutiny of the Department for Transport.
Transport Select Committee report [Commons]
01.12.2010Financing PFI projects in the credit crisis and the Treasury's response.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
16.11.2010Pre-appointment hearing for the dual post of First Civil Service Commissioner and Commissioner for Public...
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
26.10.2010Performance of the Department for Transport.
Government response. Transport Select Committee; Department for Transport report [Commons]
26.07.2010Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments 2008-09.
Government response. Treasury report [Commons]
30.06.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) first report on Government Response to the Cabinet Office and the
Government response. Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
31.03.2010Leaks and Whistleblowing in Whitehall.
Government response. Cabinet Office; Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
24.03.2010Endorsing nine reports from the Comptroller and Auditor General.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
25.02.2010Bad Language: The Use and Abuse of Official Language.
Government response. Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
24.02.2010The Government's review of the principles applying to the treatment of independent scientific advice
Science and Technology Select Committee; Cabinet Office report [Commons]
24.02.2010Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments 2008-09.
Treasury Select Committee report [Commons]
22.02.2010Departmental Annual Report 2009 and the performance of the department in 2008-09.
Communities and Local Government Select Committee report [Commons]
05.02.2010The balance of power: central and local government.
Government response. Communities and Local Government report [Commons]
06.01.2010Constitution Select Committee (HL) fourth report on The Cabinet Office and the Centre of Government.
Constitution Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
10.12.2009Lobbying: developments since the Committee's first report of session 2008-09 (HC 36).
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
09.12.2009Financial management in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
09.12.2009The Government's review of the principles applying to the treatment of independent scientific advice
Science and Technology Select Committee report [Commons]
08.12.2009The creation of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the departmental annual report...
Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee report [Commons]
19.11.2009Bad language: the use and abuse of official language.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
22.10.2009The use of management consultants in the NHS and the Department of Health.
Government response. Department of Health report [Commons]
22.10.2009Good government.
Government response. Cabinet Office; Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
22.10.2009Lobbying: access and influence in Whitehall.
Government response. Cabinet Office; Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
20.10.2009Greening government.
Government response. Office of Government Commerce; Environmental Audit Select Committee report [Commons]
14.10.2009Evaluating the efficiency programme.
Government response. Treasury; Revenue and Customs; Treasury Select Committee report [Commons]
17.09.2009The balance of power: central and local government.
Government response. Communities and Local Government report [Commons]
21.07.2009Evaluating the efficiency programme.
Treasury Select Committee report [Commons]
16.07.2009Leaks and whistleblowing in Whitehall.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
14.07.2009Greening government.
Environmental Audit Select Committee report [Commons]
08.07.2009Learning and innovation in government.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
08.07.2009Financial management in the Home Office.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
10.06.2009The future of science scrutiny following the merger of DIUS and BERR.
Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Select Committee report [Commons]
09.06.2009Good government.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
21.05.2009Further report on machinery of government changes.
Government response. Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
12.05.2009The balance of power: central and local government.
Communities and Local Government Select Committee report [Commons]
30.04.2009The use of management consultants by the NHS and the Department of Health.
Health Select Committee report [Commons]
23.04.2009Mandarins unpeeled: memoirs and commentary by former Ministers and civil servants.
Government response. Cabinet Office; Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
23.03.2009Central government's management of service contracts.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
12.03.2009Ethics and standards: further report.
Government response. Cabinet Office; Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
02.03.2009Department for Work and Pensions: handling customer complaints.
Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
16.12.2008Ethics and standards: further report.
Government response. Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
10.12.2008Government communications.
Communications Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]
09.12.2008Lobbying: access and influence in Whitehall.
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]