Definitions

government department

Non-ministerial government department

A non-ministerial government department is a department or ministry of a government that is not headed by a Government Minister or Government Secretary, and answers directly to a legislature.

Such departments are created to remove political interference in public affairs such as prosecution, charities, human rights and racial equality. They carry out executive functions as stipulated by the legislature. The head of the department is often appointed by a government minister.

They can be contrasted with Executive Agencies, non-departmental public bodies and QUANGOs which are created to carry out executive functions on behalf of government ministers and/or departments.

In the United Kingdom there exist several such departments that answer to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and two that answer to the Scottish Parliament.

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