The Deputy Prime Minister is improving the effectiveness of policy
development across Government by chairing, and participating in, a range of
cross-Government Cabinet Committees.
These Committees bring Ministers together to find solutions to key policy
issues, particularly those which cut across different Departmental
responsibilities. In this way, Cabinet Committees contribute to maximising
the impact and delivery of Government policy.
Underneath Cabinet sits a structure of Cabinet Committees
, some of which have Sub-Committees. Cabinet Committees have two key
To relieve the burden on the Cabinet by dealing with
business that does not need to be discussed at full Cabinet. Appeals to
the Cabinet should be infrequent, and Ministers chairing Cabinet
Committees should exercise discretion in advising the Prime Minister
whether to allow them.
To support the principle of collective responsibility by
ensuring that, even though a question may never reach the Cabinet itself,
it will be fully considered. In this way, the final judgement is
sufficiently authoritative that Government as a whole can be expected to
accept responsibility for it. In this sense, Cabinet Committee decisions
have the same authority as Cabinet decisions. More broadly, Cabinet
Committees provide a framework for collective consideration of, and
decisions on, major policy issues and questions of significant public
interest. They ensure that issues that are of interest to more then one
Department are properly discussed and that the views of all relevant
Ministers are considered. The business of Cabinet and Cabinet Committees
is mainly made up of the following subjects.
The co-ordination of particularly complex Government business, such
as the legislative programme, constitutional issues and public
Questions which significantly engage the collective responsibility of
the Government because they raise major policy issues, or are of
critical importance to the public;
Questions where there is an unresolved difference of opinion between
Much of the work of Cabinet is delegated to Committees.
The Prime Minister decides who sits on the Committees and what they are
responsible for. Some of the Committees exist for short periods to deal
with a particular issue. Since 1992 the membership of Cabinet Committees
has been published. Decisions taken in Committee have full Cabinet
authority and may not be brought to full Cabinet.