Britain: Bureaucrats and Imaginary Ministers

Edward Page

in Policy Without Politicians

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199645138
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745157 | DOI:
Britain: Bureaucrats and Imaginary Ministers

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While ministers in the UK can and do issue direct commands to bureaucrats developing policy detail, such interventions are indeed rare and the key mechanism of political control lies in the anticipation or indirect divination of the wishes of the minister. Bureaucrats use a range of means to try to anticipate what ministers want, including reading ministerial speeches and statements and ‘conceptual divination’, using one or more simple and broad concepts, known to be among those that the minister or government approves of, as a guide to likely acceptability.

Keywords: United Kingdom; bureaucracy; delegation; secondary legislation; policy-making; political leadership

Chapter.  8807 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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