Pre-University (CIE) Comparative Government: Specimen Questions with Answers 5 - 5 of 53

Question 5

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Compare and Contrast civil servants with ministers in UK.

Explanation

There are distinctions between ministers and civil servants. They are:

  • A minister is a party man who is elected on a party ticket and is associated with one or the other political party. He is selected as a minister on account of his party affiliation and prominence and while he is in the cabinet he helps frame party policy and secure its enactment into law. On the other hand the position of civil servant is quite different because he is a non-political man.

  • The constitution debars him from the membership of the parliament and refuses him to actively participate in party politics and he does not identify himself with a particular party. He is in office not to keep any party in power but to execute the laws and orders of the government no matter which party is in power. If a civil servant desires to be a member of House of Commons, there is an Order-In-Council dating from 1884 which asks him to resign his office as soon as he announces his candidature for election.

  • To keep the civil servants politically neutral, various statutes have been enacted from time to time. The other difference between the two is that the minister is generally an amateur while civil servants forms expert bodies. The minister isn’t a permanent official. He is in office as long as his party is in power. But the civil servant is a permanent servant of the Crown.

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