This has been suggested as a sure sign that the role of Cabinet com- has been marginalised,largely replaced by a tendency for the Prime Minister to settle issue with individual ministersand private advisers. Alongside the suggestion that Cabinet's role has diminished under Blair have come reports thatits role is changing. If policy is being developed elsewhere, and if ministerial disputes havebecome rare, we are led to the question 'What does Cabinet actually do?' The answer, it appears,is that it has become increasingly concerned with the presentation of policy - to Parliament, tothe media and to the public. The apparent obsession that the Blair administration has developedwith unity, and the appearance of unity, has created a need for close co-ordination. The Cabinetprovides such a forum. 6. ConclusionThe Cabinet is no longer the command centre of British government– largely because nobody of 22 or so people, meeting once or twice a week can possibly fulfil the theoreticalfunctions of the Cabinet. There is simply too much, and too complicated, government.The Cabinet remains important– as a court of appeal where decisions are made which havenot been made lower down the system; as a battleground between ministers and betweendepartments and as a forum where the relationship between Prime Minister and his colleagues isformed and developed.
Questions on the ExecutiveJanuary 2003a. What is meant by civil service neutrality?b. Explain the relationship between ministers and civil servants. 15c. Analyse the circumstances in which ministers resign. 30May 2002 (a) What is cabinet government? (5) (b) What are the main sources of prime ministerial power? (15) (c) How effective are the constraints on the Prime Minister? (30) January 2002 (a) Define individual ministerial responsibility.(b) How are ministers made accountable to parliament?(c) In what circumstances do ministers resign?(d) How effective are prime ministers in controlling their ministers?June 2001(a) What is collective ministerial responsibility?(b) Outline the role of the cabinet.(c) What factors influence the Prime Minister's appointment of ministers?(d) How powerful is the Prime Minister?